The following article was submitted for publication by Steven Liles.
There are over a thousand homeless people who live in Amarillo and during freezing cold conditions like we experienced here locally last week not all of them can find shelter. So a volunteer group called Yellow City Community Outreach (YCCO) has stepped in to try to bridge the gap.
When temperatures dip below freezing Palo Duro Panels has been gracious enough to open up their warehouse, the old Amarillo Ice House, to YCCO to help provide emergency shelter to our homeless neighbors. This past Tuesday when afternoon temperatures began to dip into the freezing range the doors to Ice House opened and stayed open for the next 7 days until warmer temperatures returned yesterday morning.
One of the most common questions has been “what does a typical day at the shelter look like”. The volunteers from YCCO along with donors from around the community provided 3 warm meals a day and a safe environment for everyone to ride out the weather. Spend a few minutes walking around the warehouse and you will find groups playing dominos and checkers, another group watching movies on the donated television and DVD player and others taking the opportunity to catch up on sleep in a warm and safe environment. It also provided a time for YCCO to help meet some of the immediate winter needs of their guests. Getting toiletries, fresh socks, thermal underwear, new jackets , winter clothes and warm blankets to their guests.
YCCO emergency shelter is a very low barrier shelter. What this means is unlike some shelters that have requirements to meet to gain entry there are no such at YCCO. As is expected there are a few rules to help keep the peace once inside the shelter but the goal is to provide shelter for all who come.
If you’d like to get involved or help out with the winter ice storm heading our way this weekend YCCO would love for you to get involved. From food, to warm clothes to even just coming to spend a few hours with our friends when the Emergency Shelter is open. You can learn more about YCCO on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/yellowcitycommunityoutreach