Churches Wanting to Assist as Shelters
Civil officials have called for publicly accessible buildings (such as churches) to open as temporary shelters. The purpose of these shelters is to provide temporary respite to survivors fleeing their homes, sometimes on foot. We encourage churches to open their doors and to be a beacon of light and island of safety in their communities. You do not have to open as an official Red Cross shelter or as an overnight shelter if you are not equipped to do so. You can open as a temporary safe space to allow survivors to get in out of the weather and to simply take a deep breath.
This is one of the most important Ministries of Presence that a church can provide in a disaster situation. If you choose to do this, please consult with your church trustees about policy / legal / insurance implications. We would also remind you that these survivors are considered a vulnerable population and you need to maintain church Safe Sanctuary policy operating procedures. If you do receive evacuees, please contact your local Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and let them know how many survivors you have.
If you are in the Houston-Metro area you can call 3-1-1 to report this. We are not sure of the availability of 3-1-1 outside the Houston area at this time. Civil officials can help direct the survivors to the nearest overnight shelter, and, in some cases, help arrange transport to those facilities providing longer term care. Thank you for all that you are doing in these difficult times.
Rev. Scott Moore
Director, Center for Missional Excellence
Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church