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City to open emergency shelter at Dallas Convention Center in anticipation of freezing forecast

With temperatures expected to drop suddenly, shelters are preparing to take in unsheltered neighbors.

DALLAS — Volunteers, churches and the city of Dallas are preparing emergency shelters as temperatures are expected to drop suddenly. 

Sabra Perdichizzi collected coats, blankets, hats, and gloves from area businesses and dropped them off at the Oak Lawn United Methodist Church on a warm and sunny afternoon Saturday.

"The weather will not last," Perdichizzi said. "It’s supposed to drop to the 20s."

The church is expecting to open its doors to unsheltered neighbors for the third year in a row, according to senior pastor Rachel Baughman.

RELATED: Overflow shelter for homeless residents to open during next week's freeze

"Three winters ago there were a number of people who died on the streets in the city of Dallas," Baughman said.

This year the city will open an overflow shelter Monday evening, in case area shelters and churches run out of beds.

“They’re not going to die in our backyard,” Baughman said.

The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center will open 5:30 p.m. Monday, close 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and reopen Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. and then close at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, city officials said. 

This is the first time the center has been used as  a warming center, though it has been used in the past to house hurricane victims.

“Homelessness in freezing temperatures is dangerous. Every year, we have people experiencing homelessness who literally freeze to death,” said Council Member Cara Mendelsohn, City Council District 12. “Just like we mobilized to care for people when the tornado hit, I’m proud the City of Dallas is stepping up to care for our homeless residents to make sure they are safe in extreme weather.”

Perdichizzi said if families around DFW plan to give, volunteer or help in any way, they shouldn’t wait for the holidays to do it.

“They can’t wait until Thanksgiving,” Perdichizzi said.  “The cold weather is going to start on Monday.”

RELATED: Great weather this weekend, much colder next week

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