Two non-profit organizations in Texas are looking for permanent solutions for Lubbock's homeless population. The Texas Homeless Network says Lubbock had around 350 people living on the streets at last count, a number that has remained constant over the past few years. Among those, they say about 80 people are chronically homeless, meaning they have lived on the streets for more than a year. Monday's symposium opened discussion about the options for funding a permanent housing project in Lubbock.
Eric Samuels with the Texas Homeless Network and Dianna Grey the Director of the Texas Corporation for Supportive Housing Program addressed organizations and individuals in the Lubbock community who work with the homeless with their ideas.
"This housing will allow folks who have been on the streets for long periods of time, or multiple times over the last three years to gain some stability, have permanent housing and have all of the supports they need," said Eric Samuels.
According to one of the other speakers, Dianna Grey, the government agency HUD or Housing and Urban Development set aside 25 million dollars last year for permanent housing projects in the state of Texas, but only three million dollars of that money was applied for and granted and Grey wants to make sure every city takes advantage of the opportunity.
"For the chronically homeless, permanent supportive housing means most importantly an end to their homelessness. They have a home, they can stabilize, they can reconnect with their family members and move on with their lives in a more dignified way," says Grey.
"Permanent supportive housing is first of all affordable housing and that means that folks who may not have any income or very little income can afford it. When we say permanent we don't necessarily mean that it's forever but it's someone's home for as long as they need it."
The possibility of a housing project also brought in factors such as transportation.
"Before we build the house we think about any public transportation that's available or providing public transportation or building in a neighborhood that's reasonably walkable with some access to retail," Grey said.
According to Grey, the project would have some positive effects in the community.
"Not only would you reduce the level of homelessness but you'd begin to see really substantial savings in the kind of costs that are being incurred by homeless individuals who visit the ER or jail, etc."
Exact locations for the homes, costs and the number of permanent homes haven't been determined yet. Those things will enter into discuss only if the city grants funding for the project. It may take months for Lubbock to get approval for any funds and the exact dollar amount depends on a number of factors, including the number of projects submitted to the city. In order for any project to meet approval, it would need a 25% financial match.