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Some Homeless Start 2012 With New Thermal Underwear

Photo courtesy of House the Homeless.
House the Homeless gives away thermal underwear each New Year's Day to homeless people living in shelters and in the streets of Austin.

Austin’s House the Homeless is hoping to keep the homeless warm with its annual Thermal Underwear Drive. On Monday, the non-profit will hand out free thermal underwear to the homeless. Thermals are easier than blankets for homeless people to carry with them.

Richard Troxell, president of House the Homeless, estimates there are about 4,000 homeless people in the Austin metropolitan area.

"At the same time, we only have about 600 emergency shelter beds for every man, woman and child," he said. "Those numbers are not going to work so that means lots and lots of folks are going to get stuck out in the winter."

Last winter, Austin saw temperatures low enough for snow and ice. Schools closed, businesses didn't open and some driver found themselves sliding all over town. A few years ago, jennifer Gale, a prominent figure among Austin's homeless, died during a cold winter night while sleeping o the steps of a church. Troxell said he found there were 20 fewer people that died homeless on the streets of Austin in 201, but he's worried that number will shift with of the number of veterans that returning home this year.

At the end of January, volunteers will conduct a 24-hour survey to count how many homeless people are living in Austin.

If you're interested in donating a thermal or money to for the organization to buy thermals, click here. Troxell said House the Homeless will also be giving away raincoats.

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