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Freezing Temperatures Coming To Denton This Week: Advocates For Unhoused Say City Isn’t Doing Enough

city of denton homeless houseless

With freezing temperatures and precipitation headed to North Texas later this week, local volunteer-led groups are preparing just as they did during the winter storm last year. Although this week’s freezing weather event won’t be a repeat of February 2021, the National Weather Service in Fort Worth is advising residents to consider altering travel plans, stocking up on essential items, wrapping pipes, and assisting vulnerable friends and family.

Related: Help Build Copper Coil Alcohol Heaters To Keep Area Houseless Warm This Winter

Risk of Hypothermia

Sub-freezing temperatures and precipitation brings special issues to the area unhoused community. “If you’ve spent a few days in a tent in the rain you know it’s pretty much impossible to keep dry,” writes Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club on Twitter. Explaining further, the group states, “There’s a real danger of hypothermia even at temps of 50 degrees making it all the more dangerous with temperatures dipping to single digits this week.”

The group has posted guidelines for the treatment of hypothermia, particularly addressing those without housing. Hypothermia occurs when a person is exposed to cold weather or immersed in cold water.

As recently reported by Local Denton and Vice, Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club also builds copper coil alcohol heaters which are donated to the area houseless community. These DIY heaters are purported to be tent-safe and cost less than $7 each to make.

Signs and symptoms of hypothermia include:

  • Shivering
  • Slurred speech or mumbling
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Drowsiness or very low energy
  • Confusion or memory loss
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Bright red, cold skin (in infants)
  • Confused or erratic behavior

Area Groups Are Asking City Leaders To Do More

As advocates of Denton’s unsheltered population, several North Texas groups are writing the City of Denton to encourage leaders to consider immediate emergency policy to address the inequity they say is not addressed in the city’s inclement weather agenda items. The groups are asking city leaders to cease sweeping houseless camps, remove police from homeless “outreach” programs, and to open facilities or provide hotel vouchers and public transportation to community members. The original press release can found here.

An Open Letter To The City Of Denton

Greetings,

We are writing as advocates of the unsheltered population of Denton. Having reviewed the inclement weather agenda items and finding them inadequate we would like to highlight a few things. Per our survey on the ground and the cities own presentation, the current plan leaves behind approximately thirty known people that we have made contact with. The plan ignores unsheltered members of our community with pets, couples/families who do not wish to be seperated [sic] & folks with jobs who work later than 530pm.

We all remember the course of events last February though our experiences were wildly different. Our memories are of pulling unhoused folks from snow collapsed tents and driving them to crowd-funded hotels to stay alive. The actions of the past two weeks in the form of city-sanctioned sweeps of the Woodrow encampment and continued displacements afterwards by Scott Butler and the homeless “outreach team” do not inspire confidence.

We are writing to encourage you to consider immediate emergency policy that eradicates this inequity by meeting the following demands:

  • Follow CDC protocols and cease sweeping camps.
  • Remove Police from homeless “outreach”. Residents have little to no faith or trust in the officers assigned to victimize them and they routinely rely on threats of incarceration over solutions.
  • Open MLK Rec Center from Wednesday 2/09 through Sunday 2/13 to meet need of constituents with families & pets OR provide hotel vouchers and transportation in the form of DCTA passes or city vehicles.

In Solidarity,
Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club

Cosigned:
Food Not Bombs Denton
Cedar Breaks John Brown Gun Club
Denton Left
Food Not Bombs Dallas
Say It With Your Chest
HeaterblocDFW
North Texas Rural Resilience
DFW SRA Community Outreach Committee
North Texas DSA Mutual Aid Committee
NTX Industrial Workers of the World

Freezing Temperatures Coming To Denton This Week: Advocates For Unhoused Say City Isn’t Doing Enough

With freezing temperatures and precipitation headed towards Denton this week, several North Texas groups are writing the City of Denton to encourage leaders to consider immediate emergency policy to address the inequity they say is not addressed in the city’s inclement weather agenda items.

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