AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Due to the arctic blast that is taking place across the High Plains a few local homeless shelters are seeing an increase in those in need. To provide shelter for everyone in need during this many of the shelters are adjusting their hours. One of the local shelters Guyon Saunders, according to Cari Good, Guyon Saunders board of directors president, saw an average of 150 people coming in for shelter leading into the holiday weekend.
“A lot of in and out traffic, so we opened earlier, and we are staying open later as a result of the cold weather. Then there is two-night emergency shelters,” Good said. “So, we collaborate with them and match our hours so they can leave here and go there, and not have to be outside in the cold other than just walking to the other shelters.”
Guyon Saunders is a daytime shelter but they collaborate with night shelters such as Salvation Army and Faith City Mission so people in need will have a warm place to stay during all hours of the day. Salvation Army core officer, Major Tex Ellis, talked about what their shelter does to prepare for the colder days.
“We have to prep for the cold weather just like anyone else, far as a faculty. So, make sure are plumbing, heating and everything is ready to go. Plenty of hot water and things like that,” Ellis said. “So, we make sure our kitchen is stocked as well because we feed dinner evening and we have breakfast in the morning. “
Good said that having shelters in the community is not only important for those in need but also for the community.
“It saves lives, it comes people from freezing to death. I have been in Amarillo all my life and there have been some winters where people died in the cold, so first and foremost that is the most important.,” Good said. “Secondly it’s good for the community. That our homeless, our most vulnerable population is not out wandering the streets. In business, the store was trying to get shelter in the alley.”
Ellis added why it’s important for these shelters to be in the community not only during this time but year around.
“Salvation army is in any community because of the need. We exist to try and meet that need in any way we can. But we can’t’ do it alone so we work together with the community. Far as supporters, leaders, as well as our community partners to make sure no one falls through the gap,” Ellis said.