Saturday 20 February 2021

The homeless left to freeze in Texas cold


"Pandemic Precautions" Left Some Texas Shelters Closed As Homeless Froze To Death

"For over six hours, a long line of people in search of shelter stood huddled together waiting for the doors of the George R. Brown convention center to open," local Houston media reported of the chaos that unfolded earlier this week as Texas temperatures plunged to deadly levels. 

The homeless in Houston as well as in other states hit by the monstrous winter storm and polar vortex which pummeled up to two-thirds of the nation this week in many cases barely escaped the streets in time to avoid exposure, also as social services and charitable centers themselves struggled to stay properly staffed or even open given the widespread power outages and water infrastructure problems. But a number of homeless also died in circumstances that could have likely been easily averted.

As of Thursday night the death toll nationally from the winter storm which most intensely impacted the unprepared southern states topped 40 killed - some among these were homeless who didn't enter a warming center in time, or even tried to survive inside cars

As Bloomberg describes, unexpected blizzard-like conditions which rapidly swept most of Texas prompted 'rescue teams' to deploy in search of homeless who hadn't yet entered shelters:

In Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and other cities, social workers and volunteers fanned out to search for unhoused people and usher them into emergency warming centers; when community shelters reached capacity, churches and nonprofits opened their doors to those seeking refuge.

However, the report continues, "Not all found shelter: On Monday, a Houston man was found dead in a van after he declined to be taken to a warming center; another man was found dead on a highway median."

Tragically and almost unbelievably, in some cases shelters were "limited" or actually shuttered altogether by preexisting COVID-19 restrictions:

Many said because of COVID-19 there was no room in other shelters and that this was their last hope to find warmth before the temperatures plummet Sunday night.

"They gave out a list, a resource list, I called them and it's the same thing - everybody is not opening due to the COVID-19 restrictions," Houston resident David Barker told KTRK news channel.

Via Getty Images: A homeless camp under a bridge on I-35 in Austin, Texas, this week.

A separate report out of Louisiana similarly described the city of Lake Charles "grappling" with "ways of addressing the local homeless problem, made worse by restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic," which had severely limited resources and building space based on 'social distancing' and other precautions. It's believed the pandemic precautions left many more on the streets than normally would have been at a moment the homeless were exposed to freezing temperatures, blizzard conditions, falling ice, and negative wind chills.

"Just too cold to be sleeping out of my vehicle at this time," a homeless man was quoted as saying. A recent Houston initiative to place over 1000 people on the brink of homelessness into permanent housing which kicked off last year likely saved more lives. Yet it's also looking like some warm, immediately usable shelters sat empty or at mere partial capacity ...because "science".

Meanwhile, The New York Times has only very recently discovered the serious danger and potentially calamitous impact of what's known as Covid absolutism

But controversially there may be significant resources still going unused across many Texas cities amid the scramble, as Bloomberg underscores: 

Yet in Texas and other states struck by uncharacteristically severe winter weather, some of the best tools to address the current crisis are going unused. On Jan. 21, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fully reimburse local and state governments for the costs of moving unhoused people into hotels and motels during the pandemic. Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston have taken the federal government up on the offer, but many cities and counties in Texas have not. 

Below: note the 'socially distanced' cots...

An emergency warming center within the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, via

It remains though that the broad blackouts impacting millions of Texans had a trickledown effect which impacted the homeless and the ability for cities to tap into this program in one obvious way: motels and hotels across the state were quickly booked full by those fleeing their frigid or waterless homes... assuming the hotels themselves had enough power or staff.

Given these very hotels too are under COVID restrictions, there's little doubt they could have been much better utilized or more available, similar to the apparently (in some cases) locked and shuttered 'Covid restricted' shelters in major cities. 

Google Trends Reveals The Catastrophe On The Ground In Texas

Zero Hedge,

19 February, 2021

During the Texas power crisis where up to 15 million people lost power, we uncovered some disturbing internet searches in the Lone Star State of desperate people trying to find resources to survive.

On Monday, when wholesale electricity rates jumped and rolling blackouts plunged millions into darkness, we noted internet search trends in the state for "firewood" exploded.

By Thursday, we showed readers internet searches for "pipe burst" erupted and even suggested that insurance claims were about to erupt. 

Shedding more light onto the "humanitarian crisis" as millions of Texans got a taste of what it's like to live in a third world country, Google Trends adds more color onto the distressing search trends as millions struggled to survive the Arctic blast. 

Searches for "soup", "fireplace", "propane", among other things, erupted this week. 

In the note titled "Is Texas Facing A Humanitarian Crisis?we documented that people waited in lines across the state to fill up their propane tanks. Houston Chronicle's Brett Coomer noted that many of these folks did not have power for days. 

Google Trends also said search trends for "free water near me" rose 1,650% over the past day. With millions of Texans still facing water issues, other search terms such as "Is it safe to wash dishes when there is a boil order" surged 1,400%. 

While Texans raced to supermarkets over the week, those who were less fortunate, already dealing with food and housing insecurities thanks to the virus pandemic downturn, frantically searched "Foodbank registration." 

Search trends revealed Texans got their first real taste of what it's like to live in a third-world country. 

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