HOUSTON - On any given day, there are thousands of people on the streets of Houston who don’t have a place to call home. So what’s being done to help the homeless? Many of us think we have a solution to help, and we give money from our car window every chance we get. However, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says there’s a better way. The Mayor’s goal when it comes to Houston's homeless is ”to become the first city in the nation to effectively end chronic homelessness,” explains the mayor.
Houston's initiative to get housing for everyone is called "The Way Home". Since 2012 the program has raised $6 million. Now JP Morgan Chase is donating another one million bucks for Houstonians in need of homes. “So they have a path back to safe affordable housing as quickly and as compassionately as possible,” says Carolyn Watson with JP Morgan Chase.
The effort is not only changing addresses but lives. “I know. I was there,” adds Jay, a former Army soldier who lived underneath the Highway 59 bridge at Chartres for five years. A year ago, "The Way Home" found the military veteran a home. “Houston is truly an amazing city. I was blessed by the fact when I became homeless I ended up right here,” says Jay.
“By housing the chronically homeless we can literally transform lives while annually saving over $28,000 for each and every chronically homeless individual,” Mayor Turner says the savings could reach as high as $70 million a year as a result of a decrease in ambulance runs, ER visits, police responses and clean-up costs for the homeless.
There are several supportive housing complexes around town and a number of new developments are under construction. The group's goal is to raise another $8 million. “I’m asking corporations and businesses and individuals to make that happen,” says Mayor Turner.
The Way Home has provided homes for more than 7,500 Houstonians so far.