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New Effort To End Homelessness In Houston

Local groups come together to end chronic homelessness in Houston

On any given night you can find some 5300 people living on the streets or in various shelters in and around Houston, the chronic homeless. While there have been efforts to end homelessness over the years, the Houston Harris County Continuum of Care has been busy creating a new plan to end it once and for all. Marilyn Brown, president and CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless, says since 2011, a huge transformation began around the homeless response system:

“The results have been that according to our 2014 Point in Time count, we have reduced homelessness in Houston, Harris County, and Fort Bend County by 37 percent overall, 57 percent decrease amongst chronic homeless, and 40 percent decrease among veteran homelessness.”

That was possible through what she called collaboration, cooperation and sticking to a plan called the Way Home: Changing the path for Houston’s Homeless.
 
“Our official continuation of the plan to end chronic, veteran, family and children homelessness in Houston, and to set a path said Brown, so that no one will have to be without housing for longer than 30 days.”

Since the 60s, there have been numerouse efforts to address this problem which still persists. What makes this plan different? Robert Pulster is the regional coordinator for the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness:

“We launched Opening Doors in 2010, and we’ve seen the trajectory on homelessness really move in the right directions, said Pulser. But when we look at Houston, the Houston reductions have exponentially increased based on the national numbers. So we’re really proud that we’ve seen the 50-percent reduction in the individuals that are unsheltered downtown, which is a huge achievement.”

All agree that ending homelessness takes a need for a new way of thnking. Thao Costis, president and CEO of Search Homeless Services
says she’s impressed with the efforts of the Way Home:

“It’s about solutions and it’s about a common goal in tackling by the heart of this community said Costis, rather than doing things the same way as we’ve always been, in taking the easy way out , because this is not an easy challenge to tackle.”

She’s confident the collaborative effort will help create permanent supportive housing, matching the response to community needs, and
linking services to housing that helps the homeless thrive.

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