Harris Co. deputies helping homeless keep warm during Texas winter storm

It’s hard to think of anyone sleeping outside tonight in below-freezing temperatures but thousands of Houstonians are. 

Many who are experiencing homeless in the area of Northwest Harris County have built encampments in the woods, and they’re using a number of materials as makeshift walls to try to keep the cold out. 

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Deputies with Harris County Homeless Outreach announce themselves as they walk into the woods to find residents in need before the temperature drops any further.

The team is offering, "water. We’re bringing them food. We’re bringing them blankets, hygiene kits," explains Deputy Gregory Temple with HCSO Homeless Outreach Team.

"It’s a great help," says Mike who’s sleeping in a homeless encampment in the woods as he shows us what the deputies gave him. "This will most definitely help me. I've got a blanket, sleeping bag, some socks."

The deputies are hoping to convince them to accept a ride to a shelter rather than remain outside in below-freezing temperatures. 

"If you guys want to get off the street and go into a shelter that is warm we can help you out," Dep. Temple explains to them but no one accepts. 

"It’s bad. It’s dangerous in every way. It’s no good," says Brenda Lutz who's been homeless since she was 14. 

Lutz encountered the team of deputies at Hope Center Houston where food was served and tells FOX 26 she has an apartment now, but fears she'll return home to no electricity due to non-payment. 

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Still, she says her thoughts are with those like Stanley Cain who barely survived last year’s freeze and will be outside Thursday night.

"It was an experience I never want to experience again," says Cain. "I became frostbitten, and it was very, very cold."

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It doesn’t take long to notice Deputy Temple treats the homeless Houstonians he encounters like family as he hands over a whole box of items and cards to the area where they can know where to get help if and when they need it. 

In fact, for years in this homeless outreach unit, he’s been searching for his homeless nephew. 

"I do this job in the name of my nephew," Deputy Temple explains. "Dr. Martin Luther King says life’s most persistent question is what are you doing for others, so we all have to examine ourselves to see what we’re doing to help other people."