Houston getting national recognition for handling of homeless crisis
HOUSTON - The city of Houston is being recognized nationally for how leaders have handled the homeless crisis on our streets, there's been a significant decrease in homelessness over the past 10 years.
"At one point in time Houston was on the list of being one of the cities with the worst homeless problems, but that has changed," said Mayor Sylvester Turner during a city council meeting Wednesday.
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A recent article from the New York Times is commending the city of Houston for how officials have handled the homeless crisis. Houston is the fourth largest city in our nation, but stats are showing that compared to larger cities, we've got a better grip on homelessness.
"In the last decade, we've reduced homelessness by 63%," Turner said.
That's nearly 25,000 people housed over the years, and Turner says it took a village. He recognized local businesses, faith-based groups, and non-profit organizations like the Coalition for the Homeless.
"We definitely are seeing fewer individuals experiencing homelessness on the streets," said Ana Rausch, Vice President of Operations with the Coalition for the Homeless.
Rausch says Houston is standing out because of its housing first motto, meaning people don't have to complete any programs before they get housing.
"We want to make sure that we house people before they try to work on anything else," she said.
Rausch also says the number of organizations participating in "The Way Home" project provides ample community resources working together to help those experiencing homelessness.
"It's over 100 partners working together to end homelessness," said Rausch.
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When it comes to veteran homelessness in our city, organizations say they've successfully solved that issue.
"It doesn't mean there aren't any homeless veterans out there, it means we can house those veterans quickly," she explained.
They hope in the next few years, they'll be able to do the same for the rest of the homeless population.
Turner announced that the Mayor of New York wants to come to Houston with his team to learn more, and see firsthand how Houston has been tackling the homeless crisis.