Temple: Committee aims to help homeless on cold nights

Along with the Salvation Army the group opened a second overnight warming station in town, at Impact Church. (Photo by Megan Vanselow)

TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) Advocates for the homeless in Temple have formed a warming station committee to restructure how the homeless are cared for when it's cold and wet outside.

The committee formed at the end of last year with members from St. Vincent De Paul, Feed My Sheep, Impact Church, Salvation Army, United Way and others.

Along with the Salvation Army the group opened a second overnight warming station in town, at Impact Church.

"The Salvation Army is a little bit more strict they have certain guidelines, where Impact Church says if it's cold, we'll be open," homeless advocate Dr. Sue Hamby said.

The church opens based on wind chill factors, and invites anyone inside needing a warm place to sleep and last month saw as many as 18 stay on a cold night.

The group also made efforts to provide day time sanctuary for homeless in Temple, partnering with the Temple Library, Feed My Sheep and St. Vincent De Paul as locations for homeless to stay warm throughout the day.

But one of the biggest problems the homeless experienced in the cold, was knowing when these warming stations were open.

The committee changed the format, and instead of having people walk to the facility to check if it will be open, anyone can call 211 to know the closest warming station open.

Impact Church leaders say they make the call by 1 p.m. on whether it will open up its doors that night.

For many in the group, caring for the homeless isn't just a job, but a passion.

"I see homeless as a community issue not just as one individual or organization it’s a community problem," Hamby said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Impact Church planned to be open Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

They are in need of cots, sleeping bags and blankets, as well as volunteers.