laredo, Texas.- As of this Thursday night, temperatures are expected to remain below zero across much of Texas, and that’s why cities are taking measures with a special focus on homeless communities, as they are the ones most vulnerable to these conditions. are at greater risk.
Even though temperatures are not expected to be severe during the February 2021 winter storm, the homeless will be especially vulnerable.
From El Paso to Houston, and from Brownsville to El Paso, both governments and non-profit organizations are working to keep this segment of the population warm and safe. For now they have opened aid stations, heating stations, they have expanded existing shelters and distributed blankets.
The situation is further complicated by an increase in migrant crossings at the Texas-Mexico border that have overwhelmed the El Paso shelter system. In order not to let migrants sleep on the street, a dangerous option with the arctic cold setting in, city officials have moved migrants to other places like Houston, where shelters are already reaching their maximum capacity .
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are expected to drop below freezing between Austin and San Antonio. Winds can reach 40 mph, -about 60 km-, with air temperatures as low as minus 5 degrees Celsius.
With the city of Houston expected to see freezing temperatures from Thursday night into Saturday morning, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that five warming centers will open Thursday where they will provide chairs, blankets and other supplies.
However, while some authorities focus on the sub-zero temperatures, others are more concerned about the rising number of migrants. Title 42, a pandemic-era emergency health order that the federal government has used to quickly turn away immigrants, including asylum seekers, was expected to be repealed this week, but was not.
Although Title 42 is still in effect, the average number of interceptions — or encounters, as the Border Patrol calls it — with migrants in the El Paso sector, which includes New Mexico, was 2,254 per day, according to a recent control room. has increased till The largest number recorded this year, by authorities in that region.
El Paso officials have appealed to other cities in the Lone Star State for help, and groups in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio have welcomed migrants into temporary shelters, giving them places to rest and eat before heading to their final destinations. offered instead.