LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Ten years ago tonight, a city ordinance made it illegal to sleep on public property. This forced Lubbock homeless people who were sleeping at Mahon Library to move.
First, they moved to Tent City at Broadway and Avenue Q, and now to Grace Campus at Broadway and Avenue A.
Lubbock homeless advocates had a virtual meeting on Wednesday to look back on their efforts for the past 10 years and look toward the future, offering some recommendations, and making remarks about their section of the Lubbock Disparity Report.
Representatives from Open Door hosted the discussion that included a physician and Quinn Paschal, who is no longer homeless.
They discussed various ways to eliminate homelessness, the need to bring the numbers down, and what citizens and local governments can do to help.
As the discussion began, they agreed that forced migration was not the answer.
“When it was on the corner of Broadway and Avenue Q it was front and center, their issue that they wanted to resolve. That’s what we’ve been saying forever - can we give some attention to real solutions, and not just wait until we’re reacting to something that we don’t like,” Jim Beck said.
Beck, the founder of Open Door, has worked to combat homelessness for over 20 years.
“You can’t really put an ordinance on this somebody’s living situation,” said Open Door COO Andrea Omojola.
A 30-page section on homelessness written by Open Door in the Lubbock Disparity Report shows that there are far more homeless individuals than available beds because some beds are allocated just for women and children. They mentioned in the meeting, most homeless people are single men.
Advocates suggest combating homelessness by lowering the requirements when someone wants to stay inside a shelter, like not requiring them to show a form of ID or prove that they are currently looking for a job.
And they discussed how they want existing programs to improve. They suggest that the Lubbock Housing Authority apply for more housing choice vouchers through the federal government with Housing and Urban Development’s mainstream voucher program, and they want landlords to use these programs to house more homeless people in Lubbock.
They closed the meeting with recommendations to humanize the topic, to show everyone that homelessness is an issue that can be solved. They recommended citizens keep the conversation alive and reach out to officials at all levels of government.