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No one will forget the recent winter storm in Dallas, which sent temperatures dipping below zero and blanketed the area with snow. As usual, our most vulnerable populations were at the greatest risk.

Thankfully, Promise House was able to stay open continuously and even accommodate additional people in need. Everyone emerged from the week safe and healthy, but we did sustain some damage to our facility.    

Promise House’s power remained on during the week of the storm. Due to a leaking pipe, we did have to shut off water to part of our facility for several days, and of course, getting a plumber out quickly proved impossible. However, our youth were able to access other bathrooms on the campus.

Because we had power and some water, we were in a position to offer assistance to Jonathan’s Place in Garland. The shelter had been without power for nearly 24 hours when we provided temporary placement for 18 children (all under age 14) in their emergency shelter. These youth stayed with us for five days at our Fannie C. Harris Youth Center, which is not yet officially open but thankfully was ready for occupancy. Dallas ISD’s food service facility, located next door, provided meals. Jonathan’s Place CEO Allicia Frye and the staff were extremely grateful for our help. 

Jonathan’s Place brought their own staff and supplies and were able to maintain a close-to-normal schedule for their youth during their stay. 

Unfortunately, our facility suffered damage due to a burst pipe on the second floor of the Page shelter, which caused water to run down to the first floor and destroyed the ceiling above the downstairs girls’ bathroom in the emergency youth shelter. Additionally, a water heater was damaged and required replacement. There was also a burst pipe at one of the transitional living program group homes.  

Our staff stepped up, too. Because the roads were hazardous, five staff members volunteered to stay overnight multiple nights during the storm, sparing other staff members from having to drive in from home. We’re so glad they were available and able to stay!   

Recovering from the storm will take some time, effort, and resources at Promise House. All told, the storm meant additional payroll and operational costs that were not included in our budget and not covered by insurance. 

Thankfully, our partners have already stepped up with $75,000 in special donations and funding to assist us in recovery, including: $20,000 from the City of Dallas, an anonymous donation of $25,000; a donation of $7,500 from OxyChem; $5,000 from HSP Media; $2,500 from the Craig and Kathryn Hall Foundation; $5,000 from the Dale Philbrick Foundation and $10,000 from the Hillcrest Foundation.  That will allow us to fully recover from the additional expenses incurred by the storm as well develop emergency preparedness kits for event like this in the future.  

We were very grateful for the opportunity to provide uninterrupted service to our homeless youth under these severe weather conditions and to assist other care providers in the community. Despite the uncertain conditions, one thing remained unchanged: We kept our youth our No. 1 priority throughout the challenging week, and we continue to do so.