The Salvation Army is looking to expand its capacity for the McKinney Emergency Overnight Warming Station this year.

In 2019, the Salvation Army hosted the station with a capacity of 40 people using a permit approved by City Council.

At an Oct. 27 meeting, the McKinney Planning & Zoning Commission gave a favorable recommendation for the station to set up at the Salvation Army facility located at 600 Wilson Creek Parkway, McKinney, with a capacity of 50 people.

The station is able to operate and offer temporary lodging when the temperature outdoors is expected to reach 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less between 6 p.m.-8 a.m. David Feeser, a major with the Salvation Army, stated that usually the people staying in the shelter leave around 6 or 7 a.m.

No additional facilities are being built on the property. The zoning request would only change the number of people the Salvation Army could serve year during cold nights, city staff said.

“We wanted to have a place for those who truly are homeless, ... to be able to give them a safe place to be able to stay, where they're not having to worry about either freezing to death on the street or being attacked on the street from those who would want to exploit them or take advantage of them or things like that,” Feeser said.

A number of people came forward to voice their concern for the McKinney Emergency Overnight Warming Station, saying it could be dangerous for the surrounding residents.

Feeser made efforts to address these concerns by saying the station would only seek out homeless individuals who would abide by the station’s rules and that, if needed, police would be brought in. If enough calls were to be placed to the police, an officer could be hired at the premises each night, he said. This was the method the shelter used last year, but an officer was not needed each night, Feeser said.

“Normally, we don't have those kind of problems on a regular basis because people just know not to come to our facilities with them,” he said.

City staff said that the city will also take a proactive response—that it will be alerted when the warming station begins operation and will have police officers drop by to check in.

The item was sent to McKinney City Council with a favorable recommendation from planning and zoning commissioners. Council will consider the item at its Nov. 3 meeting.