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Shelters forced to keep capacity limits this Christmas Eve, even as temperatures drop

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HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — This year has brought on a lot of hardships for many communities and shelters they often rely on durung the holiday season are also being impacted by COVID-19.

“One of the challenges we are facing, is we are limited as to the capacity of the individuals that we can have in the building at one time,” said Lieutenant Adolph Aguirre with the Salvation Army.

This Christmas Eve has changed the way shelters operate. The Salvation Army is one shelter that has to limit the number of people they serve. 

“Normally we would be able to shelter about 200 individuals with an overflow room, but this year that’s not the case,” said Aguirre.

The Salvation Army is currently under quarantine after someone tested positive. With temperatures dropping across the Rio Grande Valley, Aguirre said due to the unprecedented circumstances they are not offering shelter to new clients. 

“We’re under quarantine at least until Tuesday so then we will hopefully be back to even what we call the normal with the pandemic but that’s still limited cases,” he said.

The Salvation Army is referring people to other shelters for a warm place to stay. The executive director at Loaves and Fishes in Harlingen said while they’ve also been impacted by the pandemic, they are offering limited spots this holiday.

“We will make available part of our lobby for people to sleep on cots for the cold night but because of the risk of bringing COVID-19 into the building we are going to let them come in and sleep but they are going to have to leave in the morning,” said Bill Reagan, Executive Director at Loaves and Fishes. 

Many are hopeful that those living in shelters, can soon get the vaccine as it begins to roll out across the country.

If you are looking for a shelter near you, the Salvation Army urges you to contact their office at (956) 682-1468.

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