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Seeking Shelter from the Cold

Arctic Cold Front Coming to the Panhandle Expected to Strain Area Homeless Shelters
AMARILLO -- The weather system headed our way is expected to force hundreds of homeless in our area to seek shelter.  That can put a strain on the many shelters operating in town.

        Amarillo has several homeless shelters but their space is often limited.  At Faith City Ministries, they only have 30 beds.

        That can change during the winter months.  From November 1 through March 31 every year, Faith City's inclement weather policy is in place.  That means anytime the wind chill reaches 38 degrees or lower, they'll accomodate all they can handle.

        That often means breaking out the emergency mattresses and turning the chapel into a day room.

        The good news is that the homeless population in Amarillo and Texas as a whole is down compared to six years ago.

        Even with the lower numbers, shelter's like Faith City Ministries will be stressed over the next couple of days.

        Outreach director Raymond Gonzalez says when the weather is extremely cold, they'll go out and actively search for homeless people with no shelter and take them in.

        According to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to congress, Texas has the fourth largest homeless population in the country at nearly 30,000.  Texas trails only California, New York and Florida.

        Of the nearly 30,000 homeless individuals in Texas, more than 3,800 of them are veterans.

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