Just when we were getting used to sunny and warm days in Austin, we have suddenly been plunged back into winter again. For most of us, that probably means digging out the coats, scarves and gloves, making sure the kids are warm before they head out the door, and perhaps grumbling about having to scrape a little ice off the windshield. Sometimes we might even promise we won’t complain so much about the endless heat later in the year.
For those in our community who are experiencing homelessness, however, it is quite a different story. On a night like tonight, sleeping outside in the bitter cold can be life-threatening. Even if you had a stack of warm blankets, it’s not possible to pile up enough blankets to keep out the chill.
That’s why The Salvation Army teams up with other local public and private groups to provide cold weather shelter to ensure that no one has to sleep outside in the cold. This collaboration, managed by Front Steps and the City of Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, is prepared to provide shelter for up to 395 additional people each night in local participating churches and recreation centers. Together we are working to ensure that no one has to sleep outside in the cold.
The Salvation Army provides additional space for families on these cold nights – with mats in our chapel. The mothers and children are the hidden homeless – often finding a relative’s or neighbor’s couch to sleep on until they can get into shelter or into their own space. The Salvation Army is there for those families who have no place to go, providing safety, warmth and food.
So while you are snuggled in your warm house tonight, give thanks for your own cold weather shelter. And say a prayer for those mothers and children who are out in the cold, that they will find their way to shelter on this cold night. If you’d like to help provide warmth and shelter for these families, please make a secure donation today or make a donation to The Salvation Army through Amplify Austin. We thank you for your love, prayers and financial support.