Plano Overnight Warming Shelter volunteers assist with a number of tasks, including driving vans for guest pickup, serving food and assisting with laundry. (Courtesy Plano Overnight Warming Station)
“There’s things we learned last night that we’re going to have to do to improve our services,” volunteer coordinator Bill Howard said at a Collin County Homeless Coalition meeting Feb. 6. “We have not had this volume before, and it’s put some stress on our facility.”
The overnight station operates out of the Salvation Army-Plano, 3528 E. 14th St., Plano, and has a maximum occupancy of 100, he said. The station opened in 2018, and the previous largest guest count was closer to 70.
The station sends out notices when it will be open and the homeless population appears to be sharing the news by communicating with each other, he said.
“The fact that the population continues to increase—we think we’re making progress in getting the word out,” Howard said.
Combined temperature, precipitation and wind must reach a “dangerously inclement” level for the temporary emergency housing operation to open, aspreviously reported by Community Impact Newspaper. Temperatures reached the 20s overnight Feb. 5.
Overnight guests are registered and fed a hot meal after arriving at the warming station. Donated clothing and showers are also available. On average, one night at the warming station has 25 volunteer time slots to fill, Howard said.
A volunteer training will be held at the Salvation Army on Feb. 17. Volunteers are required to be 18, apply and attend training once every two years.
The station’s season began Nov. 1 and will run until March 31.