RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Colder temperatures have hit the Valley for about a week and local organizations are making sure everyone has an opportunity to get out of the cold.
Andy Valdez is homeless in Harlingen and said he is looking for ways to stay warm.
“Right now, we’re just trying to stay warm. We’re not doing so good right now,” Valdez said.
Valdez has taken shelter in what was once the Su Casa Inn & Suites in Harlingen.
The hotel is now abandoned and Valdez along with his wife and dog are using it for shelter.
He said there are usually about eight to 10 people seeking shelter in the abandoned hotel at a time.
“Mainly just stay inside, try to keep warm as much as we can. We get donations of blankets and clothes and whatnot,” he said.
The donations come from outreach workers looking to help the homeless.
Steve Muñiz, an outreach worker with Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley said he has been helping the homeless for about a year and a half.
“I come and bring breakfast to these guys and today with cold weather, bringing blankets, scarves, beanies,” Muñiz said.
He explained that he gets to know the homeless community through his work and enjoys helping.
Loaves and Fishes also provide a warm shelter.
“Where we have seen an increase in numbers is people coming in for hot meals. So not only are they coming in for that hot meal, but at the same time, they’re kind of warming up, they’re staying indoors and getting out of the drizzle,” said the organization’s shelter director, Tommy Lee Martinez.
He said when temperatures reach a certain level, the facility is opened as a warming center.
Martinez explained that there is also an overnight shelter for men, women, and children.
The Good Neighbor Settlement House in Brownsville is also providing warm meals and clothing at their facility and in the community.
“During the winter, we try to do street outreach, at least four, sometimes five times a week so that we can just kind of check up on them and make sure they’re okay,” said Alejandra Maderos, the organization’s Client Service Coordinator.
She said with the colder temperatures more people are in need of resources, leaving them with a shortage of some items.
“With this small front that we had, we already run out of beanies and gloves and stuff like that, and those are items that are really needed,” Maderos said.
She said they are accepting donations but there is a big need for men’s pants and shoes.