Oklahoma City working to protect homeless during extreme cold

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As meteorologists keep a close eye on a potential snow storm headed for Oklahoma this weekend, city leaders say they are working to protect those who are most vulnerable to the freezing temperatures.

“For years, our homelessness service provider community has had a plan that they’ve put in place that opens up a lot of shelters when the temperatures dip below a certain level. Obviously, that’s a level that we’ve been at all week here. COVID-19 diminished that capacity somewhat, so the community led by Homeless Alliance, working with Mental Health Association, working with city staff added a new shelter. A new temporary shelter that has been open every single night regardless of temperature this winter. And that’s at the old Willard school, and it’s near by the Homeless Alliance Day Shelter. So between the Homeless Alliance Day Shelter and the Willard school, we’ve basically got a 24/7 warming center set up between the two places. So we hope that’s enough. So far, it has been. I’ve been in touch with the head of the Homeless Alliance, Stan Strong, several times over the last few days, and they’re letting everybody in,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt.

Mayor Holt says if you see someone on the streets, you should call the city or the Oklahoma City Police Department.

“Get the Homeless Outreach Team out there to make sure that person knows they have options. We definitely want them to have that information, and we’ll continue to do our part to make sure there’s somewhere warm for everyone to go on nights like this,” said Holt.

Officials suggest becoming familiar with Oklahoma City’s snow routes before you leave the house.

“We’ve got 30 trucks or so that will hit the roads, that are hitting the roads in times like this. I mean, you have to be somewhat realistic. There’s not enough trucks in the world to bring total normalcy to your commute. So yeah, if you can stay home in times like this, that’s the best possible option. But if you gotta get out, we’re plowing those snow routes. Keep that in mind. This is a 620-square-mile city, so the city crews focus on the snow routes,” Holt said.

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