On Sunday afternoon, people started lining up to get into Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center — a shelter of last resort for some 800 people — six hours before the facility opened. Temperatures plunged over the weekend in Texas, bringing snow, ice, and widespread power outages to several million households across the state.
But the most vulnerable Texans were those who had no homes. 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. 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.