City of Dallas Office of Homeless Solutions and partners work to bring neighbors in from the cold

A homeless man sleeps along a street near downtown Dallas. – File photo by Robyn H. Jimenez/The Dallas Examiner

 

Special to The Dallas Examiner

 

The city’s Office of Homelessness Solutions is looking for more organizations with the capacity to offer temporary emergency Inclement Weather Shelter during the winter.

“An estimated 700 people experiencing homelessness die from hypothermia every year in the United States,” OHS Director Christine Crossley said. “Our office is committed to providing shelter to those most vulnerable to the elements this winter and is working with organizations across the city to bring our unsheltered neighbors in from the cold.”

Businesses and nonprofits are encouraged to apply for permits now and ultimately provide a safe, warm haven for individuals and their families as winter approaches. Approved applicants will be supported by the greater Inclement Weather Shelter working group, which consists of OHS and area homeless services providers.

The city may make an inclement weather shelter declaration and open temporary inclement weather shelters during the winter in the event of:

  • The minimum nighttime temperature is forecasted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service to be 36 degrees Fahrenheit or below at any point between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. (the next day)
  • For any amount of freezing rain or ice.
  • F or two or more inches of snow (alone or in combination with sleet and freezing rain).

A single-family home, duplex, townhouse or handicap group dwelling unit cannot be used for this program. Also, the dwelling cannot be within 0.5 miles of the Central Business District (bound by Woodall Rodgers to the north; Interstate 345 to the east; Interstate 30 to the south and Interstate 35 to the west) with the exception of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and other city-owned facilities.

The temporary emergency inclement weather shelter program is governed by Chapter 45 and Section 51A-4.217(b)(11.1) of the Dallas City Code, as amended. Operational guidelines include:

  • Shelters may only operate and host shelter participants during times of cold and heat weather advisories.
  • It is unlawful to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
  • Shelters must provide a minimum of 40 square feet of space per shelter participant.
  • Inspections will be conducted on an as-needed basis to ensure the shelter is aligned with code compliance as it pertains to the condition of the building, electricity, water, fire safety, etc. However, these are not generally needed if the applicant is in possession of a current city-issued Certificate of Occupancy and is not proposing new construction.

Interested applicants can download an application from dallascitynews.net and for more information on how to become a temporary emergency shelter, contact tiws@dallascityhall.com.

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