San Antonio nonprofit calls on church leaders to open doors for pop-up cold weather shelters

SAN ANTONIO – About 50 people attended a training class Thursday at Communities Under the Bridge Church in preparation for the freezing temperatures ahead.

Dianne Talbert, executive director of Communities Under the Bridge Church, says the city and county-wide coordination is underway.

“We would encourage people to consider — if they have a space and they have a volunteer core — that they would consider bringing up a shelter in the future and allow us to help them, learn about it and help space plan,” Talbert said.

The hope is to be able to count on churches in every part of the city to open their doors, so volunteers don’t have to drive downtown to drop off those who wish to stay in shelters.

Communities in the East Side and South Side are in need of pop-up shelters.

“We will work with anybody — and if they’re ready in February — to run a shelter after working with both the city and (Communities Under the Bridge),” Talbert said.

The first thing is ensuring the church and volunteers have a heart for helping the homeless. The church must also consider whether it has a safe and adequate space to host people and staff. They should also consider how many people can volunteer and develop rules and procedures for operating safely.

Talbert said Communities Under the Bridge and the city can help train and prepare them.

On Sunday, volunteers will head out to begin street outreach to help find shelter for the homeless. Anyone who wants to volunteer and consider opening their doors is encouraged to contact Communities Under the Bridge at 210-569-4026.

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