LUBBOCK, Texas — As the temperature begins to drop here in Lubbock, many of us are already breaking out our jackets and bundling up against the cold. But as temperatures fall, homeless shelters are also preparing for more folks to seek shelter.
And for men like John mook, they already cannot wait for winter to be over.
“I would rather be out in the hot burning sun 100 degrees plus,” said John Mook, who is currently saving up for a house.
Since Mook doesn’t currently have a home, and winter is approaching, he’s planning on staying in shelters to get out of the cold.
“It’s nice to be able to get a warm cup of coffee and shake off the chill,” said Mook.
Local homeless shelters are preparing for more people seeking shelter.
“We are getting ready to keep everyone warm but also provide everything they need to get back on their feet,” said Jerri Ann Moore, program director for Grace Campus.
Open Door has been handing out zero degree sleeping bag and is expecting over 300 people to walk through their doors each month.
Chad Wheeler CEO of Open Door.
“The sleeping bags are really there for people who maybe can’t stay in a shelter or who choose not to,” said Chad Wheeler, CEO of Open Door.
But with COVID-19 numbers still high in Lubbock, it has added new challenges for shelters.
“Because people in homelessness–they congregate so closely together and they spend so much time together, and they are a high-risk population. It is a big concern that if people start getting sick and that starts spreading that that could be something very serious. So, we are doing what we can to keep people healthy,” said Wheeler.
During the winter, Grace Campus provides larger heaters in their community barn and also smaller heaters residents can check out, but social distancing is still a concern.
“The small propane heaters help us because it takes people to their houses rather than coming to the barn. So really, our goal has just been to keep people separated from one another, so they aren’t passing illnesses back and forth,” said Moore.
But even with all the preparations in place, Mook is still hoping for an early spring.
“I personally count the day until the winter weather is gone and the nice weather starts up again,” said Mook.
Both Grace Campus and Open Door say while they could always use donations of coats or blankets, food or cosmetic item donations are just as important. Open Door says that for those who want to help out those who might be homeless, it’s best to contact a shelter directly and ask the best way to help.