December 30, 2017
KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
by Katrina Katsarelis
With temperatures dropping, local organization says many homeless people are at risk of freezing
Photo: Giving out warm items to Susan, a woman living in the back of an 18 wheeler.
Tina Hatcher has already started handing out coats and warm clothes to Katy's homeless population, but says her organization, Hope Impacts, needs so much more to get through the upcoming cold spell.
According to National Health Care for the Homeless Council, hypothermia can set in for when the temperatures drop below 50 degrees; Katy temperatures are expected to be in the 20's and could go as low as 6 degrees next week. Katy weather will start dropping on New Years Eve and throughout the week. "That cold wind is like being in a freezer," explains Hatcher. "If it rains, it is horrible for them."
Mens Items Needed Most
Because homeless men in Katy out number women by about 3 to 1, the needs for men's items are greater right now. Hatcher says she desperately needs coats, scarves, and other cold weather items to hand out fast. Thermals have been so hard for her to find in our usually balmy Texas climate, she is having a friend bring some from Kansas. "Some of our folks live in their cars so we also need gas cards," says Hatcher. "They will have to run their heaters more than usual and will be running out of gas faster." Hatcher also needs donations of cold and flu medicine to hand out because many of them are getting sick.
No Katy Shelters
According to Hatcher, this cold spell is especially bad because there are no shelters at all in Katy and there is no space in any Houston shelters right now. The Houston shelters are at maximum capacity possibly due to Harvey.
The chance of people dying in the freeze is very real and Hatcher is trying to get items to Katy's homeless population fast. Hope Impact relies 100% on donations from the community and has many success stories of giving people a 'hand up' not a 'hand out' by referring them to various resources to help them find housing and jobs.
Photo: Hatcher with David Weber, one of her success stories. Weber is employed and no longer homeless. He recently donated $500 to the organization as a thank you for the help he was given.
Katy's Hidden Homeless Population
Our relationships do not end when they are housed, says Hatcher. "We are sometimes the only family they have."
For every homeless person you see on a corner there are at least six homeless people that will not stand on a corner that have just as many needs," says Hatcher. She knows most of them personally and says not all of them are addicts or alcoholics like many people assume. "Some have mental health issues that make it very difficult for them to get a job or keep a job." To date, Hope Impacts has about 50 homeless people get off the streets but there are more to help. Hatcher estimates there are still about 50 homeless people living on streets between 99 and Fry Road."
WINTER ITEMS NEEDED
Battery operated heaters
Gas cards (for homeless living in cars)
Batteries AAA, AA, and C
Cold and flu medications
Gas cards for those living in cars
WINTER CLOTHES NEEDED
Although mens clothes are most in need, women's clothes are also needed. Most of the women's clothes needed are Large or XL
Jeans (mens) sizes 28-38 waist and 30-34 length
Turtle necks (Large or XL)
Sweat shirts (Large or XL)
Warm shirts (Large or XL)
Sweats (Large or XL)
Colored boxer briefs that hug the leg (all sizes)
Large sturdy backpacks
FOOD ITEMS NEEDED Easy to open, ready to eat items like soups, chili, macaroni & cheese
Tuna packets (ready to eat)
Cheese or peanut butter crackers
Soft breakfast or granola bars
Fruit snacks, fruit cups, etc.
Packages of jerky
Single sized chips or cookies
Drink packets for water
Keurig pods (for homeless visiting office)
Monetary donations are always appreciated although money is never handed out to homeless.
Helping Someone Directly
People can also help homeless directly by meeting their immediate needs like buying someone a hotel room for the night. Hatcher's advice is to meet them in the lobby so you can book it directly (she does not recommend giving cash) and because a few hotels won't accept them. "If God nudges you to help someone you should listen," she says.
VOLUNTEERS - Volunteers are also needed on an on-call to basis help pass out Winter items. If you're interested, contact the email below.
DONATE ITEMS - To donate items this weekend and through the holidays, email firstname.lastname@example.org for the weekend drop off location. To drop off items during normal business hours after the holidays, you may drop off at the Hope Impacts Office, located at 802 Dominion Dr. Suite 300 Katy TX.