LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The homeless population in Lubbock is an issue the city has been trying to handle for some time.
City officials say there are 85 chronically homeless people living in Lubbock. So now, several local agencies are joining forces to combat the issue of homelessness in Lubbock and the surrounding area.
The South Plains Homeless Consortium is kicking off a 100-day challenge to improve the homeless response system in Lubbock.
"We want to work together and we believe that working together we're able to help people more efficiently, more quickly, and make sure that those gaps in a particular program can be filled by other resources," Chad Wheeler, president of the South Plains Homeless Consortium, said.
In July, representatives from the South Plains Homeless Consortium got together to evaluate and improve their response to the homeless population. Over the next 100 days, they hope to implement some of the changes and ideas they came up with during their review.
"We want to have a developed coordinated entry system. Which is the system through which people navigate to the appropriate resources to housing," Wheeler said. "And the other part of it is, through that system, we wanna house 45 of the most vulnerable individuals and households in Lubbock,."
Sgt. Steven Bergen with the Lubbock Police Department's Homeless Outreach Team said the coordinated entry system is a key role in ending homelessness in Lubbock.
"The coordinated entry is key to this. Because when people need help instead of going to one agency and they document and they say this person needs this needs, we're all a part of that entry system," Bergen said.
Being able to give more than half the homeless population a forever home, is no easy task.
"It's a very exciting and challenging goal. We're not just talking about putting a band-aid on homelessness for 45 people, we're talking about ending homelessness for 45 people," Wheeler said.
Bergen works with the homeless population daily and has built relationships with those people. And, being able to be a part of giving some of them a place of safety and security is a gratifying experience.
"To see somebody who's in their worst state and worst time, to help them get back on their feet, it's very humbling to be able to do that," Bergen said.
And, he says those receiving a home will be just as humbled and excited.
"Contrary to popular belief, people don't want to be homeless. They want that contact, they want to be safe and secure," Bergen said. "So I can tell you right now, they're gonna be excited."
The following agencies have signed the 100-day challenge:
- Children's Connections
- St. Elizabeth University Parish
- City of Lubbock, Community Development
- Family Promise of Lubbock
- Heart of Lubbock Housing
- LPD, Homeless Outreach Team
- Lubbock Area United Way
- Lubbock Housing Authority
- Open Door
- St. Benedict's Chapel
- Starcare - PATH
- The Salvation Army of Lubbock
- Veterans Affairs