Tablet Local

Tarrant County homeless shelters packed

Homeless shelters still packed

Homeless shelters in Tarrant County are packed and struggling to find employees and volunteers who can brave treacherous ice-covered roads and serve the homeless.

“We’ve operated at full capacity for the past five days and no one has missed any meals,” said Don Shisler, president of Union Gospel Mission, one of three shelters in the homless district in Fort Worth. “But it’s been difficult getting people into work because of the road conditions.”

The mission, along with the Presbyterian Night Shelter and Salvation Army have been at capacity since mid-last week, when a cold front brought frigid temperatures and ice to the Metroplex.

The situation became so dire that city of Fort Worth employees opened the Bertha Collins Community Center near downtown in order to alleviate the congestion. That shelter remained open Monday night.

The Presbyterian Night Shelter has provided service to about 650 people each night since Thursday, which is at capacity, said Toby Owen, chief executive officer.

“We were extremely full,” Owen said. “I've been at the organization for four years and this is the most we've ever had.” - Mitch Mitchell

Arlington library freezes up, shuts down

The Northeast Branch Library in Arlington will remain closed for several days after frigid temperatures froze the boiler and pipes.

Director of libraries Cary Siegfried said employees arrived Monday morning to find the building without heat. Workers said the boiler control panel short-circuited this weekend and the boiler and all pipes are frozen.

“We can’t do much about repairing it until we can get them thawed out,” she said.

Siegfried said the Northeast branch, at 1905 Brown Blvd., is a major computer use library so she is working to send out a a mobile computer lab to the parking lot so people can have access to computers and the internet.

Dates and times will be posted at and the Arlington Public Library Facebook page. - Monica Nagy

Tree lighting ceremonies tonight

Holiday tree lighting ceremonies and other festivities that were canceled last week have been rescheduled for Tuesday night.

Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck will join hundreds for a tree lighting ceremony on the steps of City Hall 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The ceremony was originally supposed to take place following a Decorator’s Warehouse Holiday Lights Parade Saturday. Santa, dancing elves, floats and thousands of people would have flooded downtown Arlington.

This was the first time the parade had to be canceled since its inception in 2002, Cluck said.

“I didn’t want to do it. I thought it was too risky. There were too many things up in the air,” Cluck said.

In Keller, the Holly Days festival at Keller Town Center, which includes a parade, tree lighting and fireworks show, is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday. The event was originally scheduled for Friday at Keller Town Center, 1100 Bear Creek Parkway. - Monica Nagy