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Shelters Expand Capacity for Homeless in Response to Icy Weather

Churches Accommodate Overflow

WHAT: As an ice storm blankets North Texas and more homeless citizens than usual seek a warm place to sleep, organizers of local homelessness programs have expanded bed capacity to meet the demand. Organizers of Directions Home, which synchronizes the efforts of multiple homeless-serving agencies, arranged additional beds for Thursday night at designated area churches. Service providers conducted assessments and intake at an existing local shelter. Homeless citizens were then transported from there to a participating church facility.

Even greater demand is expected into Friday and Saturday. There are 2,390 homeless residents in greater Fort Worth – including 739 children and 217 veterans. If existing bed space reaches capacity over the weekend, the City of Fort Worth will open an additional emergency shelter.

WHEN: Church shelters are operating for the night of THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5.

WHERE: The primary overflow shelter is being operated at First United Methodist Church:

800 West 5th Street, Fort Worth, 76102

This facility is providing shelter to 21 homeless citizens.

Pending confirmation of need, a shelter may be opened at this location:

Bertha Collins Community Center

1501 Martin Luther King N. Freeway (U.S. 287)

WHO: Directions Home is a 10-year plan to make homelessness rare, short-term and non-recurring in greater Fort Worth by 2018. The plan was adopted by the Fort Worth City Council in 2008 and is endorsed by the Tarrant County Commissioners Court.

INTERVIEW/VISUAL OPPORTUNITIES:

Otis Thornton, homelessness program director for the City of Fort Worth, is available at the First United Methodist Church shelter throughout the night and morning for interviews. Church staff will begin morning operations to serve the homeless citizens at approximately 6 a.m. At the discretion of clients being served, some homeless citizens may be available for interviews.

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