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Thousands of Austinites will go without shelter during this freeze. Here's how you can help them.

Volunteers organize donations at the Austin Mutual Aid site on Fourth Street downtown in February 2021.
Michael Minasi
KUT News
Volunteers organize donations at the Austin Mutual Aid site on Fourth Street downtown in February 2021.

It's inevitable: A lot of Austinites experiencing homelessness won't be able to find shelter during the brutal cold front making its way to Central Texas. Local groups are stepping in to help them prepare for the below-freezing temperatures that are expected to last through at least Tuesday.

For people living outside — a population far more likely to have serious and/or debilitating chronic health conditions —  that exposure could be a life-or-death situation.

Here's how you can help them out.


A collective of nonprofits and service providers are asking for donations of warm coats, blankets, gloves, sleeping bags and canned goods ahead of the freeze. The groups, dubbed the Austin Winter Response Collaborative, will be taking donations over the weekend and early next week.

Sunrise Navigation Center, the largest homeless service provider in Travis County, is spearheading the effort, hosting a donation center at its headquarters off Menchaca Road and Ben White Boulevard. There are also drop-off sites for folks up north and in East Austin. Note: Drop-off times aren't uniform across the three sites.

  • Sunrise Navigation Center, 4430 Menchaca Road — Drop off donations between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Friday through Tuesday.
  • Black Mamas Village, 8401 North IH-35— Drop off donations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday or between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday.
  • Hungry Hill Foundation, 1189 Springdale Road — Drop off donations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Saturday through Monday.

Saint David's Church downtown, St. Andrew's Church in North Austin and Austin Area Urban League off Cameron Road are also taking donations.

For more details, email

You can also donate online to the winter response fund online.


If you're looking to get more involved, there are a couple volunteer opportunities. The Austin Winter Response Collaborative has a sign-up sheet for volunteer shifts on its website. Duties range from pickups and drop-offs to helping at shelters during the freeze. Check out those opportunities on the AWRC website.

The Austin Area Urban League, which contracts with the city to help run shelters, is also looking for volunteers. Shelters at three city-owned sites will open Sunday and operate through at least Tuesday. If you can help out, sign up for a shift on the Urban League's online form.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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