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Austin flood victims fighting the cold weather

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Since all of the flood shelters have closed, many Austin flood victims are having to find ways to fight the cold weather.

Many homeowners have set up campers in their driveways to sleep in -- like Kat Ames and her family.

"Someone actually donated this RV to us...just a family.  And we bought that truck and so little by little we're figuring it out," she said.
Ames says they've been staying with friends but Monday night will be their first night to sleep in the camper so they're working on keeping it warm -- as temperatures are still expected to be very low.

"We tried to get the heater working in this with a propane tank.  That didn't work so we bought a couple of space heaters and right now I think it's like 55 degrees in there.  So it's bearable and we're just gonna see how it goes," Ames said.

Down the road, Elida Arriaga and her family have electricity but their central heat and air doesn't work because of the water damage.  So they too have set up several space heaters to keep warm.

"It was cold last night.  It was pretty cold...yeah I mean it's not the same, you can feel the cold coming in through the walls.  Right now I kind of took the sheet rock and insulation off with volunteers help and all that but we put plastic around the walls just kind of as a barrier," Arriaga said.

One thing there doesn't seem to be any shortage of -- helping hands.

We ran into some volunteers passing out free meals and warm blankets.

"Toys for little kids, books, waters, food, boots, anything that's warm...anything they need right now," said volunteer Nikki Runkels.

Flood victim Maria Vara is grateful for fellow citizens that have helped them.

"So far they're the ones that have helped us more than even the city, the county or the federal government," Vara said.

Vara says a few nights ago, she only had a couple of small space heaters to heat the house.

"I mean I was freezing cold," she said.

But thankfully she got her heater working 2 nights ago.

No matter the weather or the circumstances, Vara says this is where she's been and where she wants to stay.

"We've been staying in our house.  We don't want to leave the house.  This is our future, this is all we have so we're staying here," Vara said.
Of course, there are no more shelters for flood victims.
Dove Springs closed last week.

The Red Cross says they have helped more than 1,800 Austin flood victims through casework and even more through services like mobile feeding and supply distribution.
The Red Cross says as always, if someone has a disaster-related sheltering need, call them at 512-928-4271.

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