REAL ISSUES

Homelessness Everyones Problem

August 7, 2011

How Homeless Problem is Your Problem Too

KRISTIN KANE, myfoxhouston.com

homelessness everyones problem

HOUSTON – Homeless organizations are being forced to lay off many of their employees after their state grant money wasn’t renewed.

They fear the homeless population in Houston will increase as a result.

You’ll remember I brought you the story of Tim Lloyd last night: a case worker at the Beacon who was laid off.

Lloyd isn’t just concerned about his clients. He and others fear Houston is headed for big problems when it comes to the homeless situation.

“I do house visits with my clients and if I had not come by here, I don’t know what would’ve happened and I plugged his chair in and got it charging and then I got him some ice water,” Lloyd said.

Clients, like wheel-chair bound John Crawford, are those Lloyd is worried about.

“What are they going to do when they don’t have anyone to turn to and right now they already don’t have a lot of people to turn to because so many people are being laid off,” he said.

The situation over at SEARCH Homeless Services, an organization that helps nearly 10,000 people every year, is the same.

“Unfortunately we’ve had to reduce our staff by 30 percent. We had about 105 people, now were down to 70, 75 people. It’s a significant number of people because all of these people are direct service providers, case managers, they are the coaches, guidance counselors to the individual who has nobody,” Thao Costis, President/CEO at SEARCH, said.

Things aren’t looking good at Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department and it looks like we’re going to be feeling their pain.

“It’s not a good recipe: less case workers, less beds and more homelessness. We found in the last report that homelessness has increased in Houston by over 25 percent so we need every penny to deal with it, and taxpayers will pay in the long run. If they don’t pay upfront through grants like this, they’ll have to pay in the back end through increase cost at the emergency room and police calls. Homelessness is not just a moral issue, it’s a financial one as well,” the department’s Marc Eichenbaum said.

Lloyd believes it could also have an impact on our crime rate and our safety.

“Crimes going to go up. More people on the streets means more crime. I’m worried, there are certain areas people won’t go in anyway because it’s dangerous, day or night. I think that could become worse and I’m worried about that,” he said.

While the city is worried too, plans to handle an increase in homelessness are in the works.

“The city and all the homeless service providers are looking at the best practices and coming up with a comprehensive plan to deal with homelessness. We can all get a lot more done if we work together and we’re all going to have to do a lot more, with less in these times,” Marc said.

Some good news to share with you!

Lloyd from the Beacon called me tonight and said after my story last night aired, the Beacon held a board meeting today with their satellite office at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. They have decided to funnel money from the church to the Beacon to keep him on board and pay his salary.

So Lloyd will be able to keep his job and continue to help his clients and the homeless in Houston.

Short URL: http://realissues.us/?p=2187

Posted by on Aug 7 2011. Filed under Homelessness, The Issues, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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