Houston knocking down its homeless population

Eliminating chronic homeless is a goal Mayor Parker and other advocates set years ago. Now they?re seeing concrete improvements
April 2, 2014 4:34:53 PM PDT
A new survey shows the number of homeless in Houston has decreased by half over the past two years. The mayor credits programs the city has put into place.

Eliminating chronic homeless is a goal Mayor Annise Parker and other homeless advocates set a few years ago. On Wednesday, they said they're seeing concrete improvements.

"We have decreased the number of chronically homeless individuals living in the streets of downtown Houston by 30 percent in just one year," Parker said.

City wide numbers are not yet available, but in downtown, city leaders say the number of chronic homeless have dropped from 1,060 in 2012 to 768 last year, and to 529 this year.

Multiple initiatives are underway. The top priority is increasing more available housing, to give the homeless a home in communities run by New Hope Housing, a major partner.

"We have committed 250 units to assist the mayor with this very important city-wide initiative," New Hope Housing Executive Director Joy Horak-Brown said.

The beacon has really become the central location where workers are matching homeless available housing to people actually looking to get off the streets and they're doing it with new computer software.

"We've standardized the way we determine what type of housing you need and we maintain a real time database of available units in our system," Houston homeless specialist Mandy Sample said.

Advocates say the goal is to add a thousand more units of housing over the next few years, so ending homelessness in Houston could become closer to reality.

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