Cold Weather Response - February 2021

Cold Weather Shelter has demobilized all locations. If you need help finding shelter resources please call 2-1-1. 

Water Access

The City of Austin is no longer under a boil water notice. 


Stay Safe during Covid-19

COVID-19 has created a health crisis unlike anything most of us have ever seen. Staying safe and protecting others can feel at odds with the work it takes to manage our daily lives. Here is what we know can help.

Know the Facts

Covid-19 is the formal name of the coronavirus that is spreading across the world. It is highly contagious and is spread mostly through person to person contact (breathing in the wet stuff others let out). It can also be spread by handling the same objects as someone who is sick. 

Symptoms of Covid-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

These symptoms can be severe or mild. Some people do not experience symptoms at all. In other words, someone may have the virus and not show any signs or symptoms. This is why everyone needs to be so careful. And it is extra dangerous for people who are elderly or have underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, hypertension, chronic lung disease, and diabetes.

Protect Yourself and Others

The best ways we know to stop the spread of COVID-19 are to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid people who are sick.
  • Stay away from others when you are sick.
  • Wear protective face coverings in public places. 
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Medical professionals are using the term “social distancing” to keep people from being in close contact when possible. This means:

  • Staying where you shelter whenever possible
  • Limiting interactions with people 
  • Keeping yourself six feet away from others in public spaces

State laws require protective face coverings while in public. People experiencing homelessness are not required to wear face coverings, but are encouraged to when it is possible. This can especially help prevent people who don't have symptoms but are contagious from spreading COVID-19. 

picture of snug-fitting face covering

When wearing a face covering, make sure it fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face and allows for breathing without restriction. Learn more about making and wearing masks

Get the Care you Need

If you are feeling sick with symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has, stay where you are and either contact your healthcare provider or call 512-978-8775. This will connect you to the resources available for treatment.

The City has also launched a free public testing process for COVID-19. To learn more and download the self-assessment app go to

Shelter Safely

If you are sick or have been around someone who is sick, the City has set up locations where you can recover or avoid spreading the virus to others. Call 512-978-8775 to start the process of connecting to these resources.

Try to remain as safe as possible where you are by:

  • Keeping six feet away from others as much as possible
  • Limiting the number of people you come in contact with
  • Wearing a face mask whenever possible

During the rainy season, areas that seem safe and normally provide shelter can flood quickly and without any warning. Generally any low lying areas, creek channels, bridges, or culvert pipes should be considered unsafe and should be avoided. Austin is considered a flash flood zone and many of these areas can become swollen with storm water within minutes from rain falling upstream.  It is not a matter of if, but when.  Please ensure your safety and stay clear of these areas or be prepared to move quickly when it rains.