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Omni Hotel Opening Its Doors To Homeless

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(credit: CBS 11 News)

(credit: CBS 11 News)

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Elizabeth Dinh
Elizabeth joined CBS 11 News from Seattle's KOMO-TV in December 2...
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – The Omni Hotel in Dallas is decked out for 500 special guests who will stay there this Christmas Eve.  For the 9th year, the hotel will serve as a warm place to stay for people who don’t have a home.

The stars of the big event are 500 people – including men, women and children.  Normally, they would sleep at a shelter or on the street.  Tonight, a free stay at the Omni is just part of what will be a special Christmas stay.

“Well, I’ve never seen anything like this in my 45 years of living and I just think this is awesome! Awesome!” said Jeffrey Hallock.

Hallock is one of the guests picked from a lottery system.  During their overnight stay, the guests will receive food, clothes and more.  It’s the royal treatment for those who’ve been through tough times.

“I’ve been through it, and I know by this day, I’ll be comfortable. It’s going to be nice,” said Linda Fisher, one of the 500 guests.

Another guest, Eloisa Mariscal said, “It is just so amazing to see how many people just woke up so early this morning to put all this together, to be here, to wait for us and to just be so willing to be part of our Christmas. That is just very, very amazing.”

The Soupmobile helps organize this event.  Throughout the year, the group dishes out about 200,000 meals to the homeless each year.

“Words can’t describe just how humbling it was to be able to hold their hands and to say hello, to give them a hug and know it’s not something they get every single day. It was amazing. It changed my life,” said volunteer Julia Putnam.

Organizers say in some cases it changes the lives of those who participate in the event, motivating them to get off the streets for good.

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