CORPUS CHRISTI — The City of Corpus Christi has allowed the American Bank Center to transform into an overnight shelter for people in need for the duration of the cold weather
When the shelter opened, 50 cots were set up and a total of 100 cots were on hand, but the Red Cross is ready to provide more. Mother Teresa’s Shelter is providing three meals a day for the people that stay at the shelter and the Gulf Coast Humane Society is taking care of people’s pets because pets aren’t allowed inside the shelter. The Humane Society is also vaccinating the pets for conditions such as rabies.
The City of Corpus Christi homeless services and workforce housing manager, Jennifer Buxton, said due to COVID-19, many local overnight shelters are already at 60 to 70 percent capacity due to social distancing, so the American Bank Center is taking as many people as possible while it’s open.
“This extreme severe weather event that the region is experiencing is new even to those that are used to being out in the elements,” Buxton said.
There were about 30 people at the shelter at about 8:30 p.m.
Adele Riis-Christensen is currently homeless. She was at a shelter when she first moved to Corpus Christi before it shut down completely and said she has a broken leg.
“I come from South Dakota and I know there’s a difference where it’s dangerously cold and where you can just get a little cold…and this cold is where you can die…you know what I mean….and I’m very thankful that they’ve opened a place like this for people because I really don’t have any place to go,” Riis-Christensen said.
Karen Cowan is the founder of Faith and Hope, a foundation that hands out snacks to the homeless and their pets. Today she volunteered because she wanted to encourage homeless people to bring their pets to the American Bank Center to get taken care of by the Gulf Coast Humane Society. She escorts the people coming here to their cots and said that it’s going to be a different atmosphere than they’re used to.
“They’re people and I don’t know what their circumstances are…I don’t care but nobody deserves to be out in the cold like this,” Cowan said.
There are about eight volunteers that do about eight hour shift,s but the event is welcoming anyone to volunteer for however long they want.