City of Houston

New city initiative aims to provide free meals during housing process for homeless population

The initiative is called “Dinner to Housing”, and will focus on providing the homeless with all the resources they need to transition off the streets. 

AP Photo/Matt Sedensky
A homeless encampment beneath an I-59 overpass during Hurricane Harvey. Homeless populations are once again some of the most vulnerable as the coronavirus spreads.

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a new initiative that will provide the city’s homeless community with 100 hot meals a day, four days a week at an undisclosed city property adjacent to Downtown Houston.

Turner made the announcement during his State of the City address this week as he discussed future plans for affordable housing and the homeless. He says the city's homeless population tends to congregate around the library and he wants to create an environment where everyone feels welcomed.

"It is an initiative to retake the Central Library Downtown and to restore that to a very family oriented environment – not to lose that major asset," he said.

The initiative is called “Dinner to Housing”, and will focus on providing the homeless with all the resources they need to transition off the streets.

“The goal is that we’ll provide them with hot meals, we’ll provide them with tables and chairs, but we’ll also be there to provide them with permanent support housing.”

The City of Houston gained national recognition this year for reducing the number of homeless individuals off the streets by 63% since 2012; 30% of that has been reduced since Mayor Turner took office in 2016.

Turner said the city has made progress with decommissioning homeless encampments throughout the city.

"While I have been Mayor, we have decommissioned 57 homeless encampments in the City of Houston," said.

The city is working with Pastor Rudy Rasmus, founder of Bread of Life on the program, which starts this month.

"We'll set up tables and chairs, we'll treat people with dignity and respect," said Turner.

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