Houston's mayor will announce plan for the city's homeless

HOUSTON -- Houston's mayor is scheduled to announce a new plan Thursday to battle the city's homeless problem.

Local and state officials have toured a facility for the homeless in San Antonio called Haven for Hope.

The mayor's office won't confirm official plans.

"We've got people who are maybe coming through town that will sleep here for a couple of days. We've got people that are here almost every day, every night," explained Scott Ackerson, the VP of Strategic Relationships for Haven for Hope. "On an average day we serve 1,000 people. We sleep about 650-800, depending on the weather."

There are 30 different agencies operate together, providing anything from hot meals, to medical services, to counseling.

"Some people aren't ready to face their addiction, but they still need a safe place to go," Ackerman explained. "This is a very low to no demand, so people can come here high or drunk as long as they are not a threat to themselves or others."

Ackerman explained that homeless has gone down 80 percent in parts of the city.

But, no question, there are also problems.

Fights and harassment are common and those who live nearby have complained of increased crime.

"What I would say to the city of Houston is what we've learned is that people do want access to services, so it goes beyond just safe sleeping," Ackerman said. "It has to be service enriched otherwise it gets people off the street, but to what end? They're still going to be homeless the next day."
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