HOUSTON - A new report shows one in seven people who became homeless in greater Houston over the last year did so because of the pandemic.
The Point In Time count, taken January 19, found about 3,000 people were homeless in greater Houston. That number is actually lower than many feared. It's due to a $65 million plan to essentially catch people in a net of housing and aid before they become homeless.
"I didn't know where I was going to be. I just thank God for them, I really do thank God for them," said Shirley Sneed of the Salvation Army of Greater Houston.
Sneed was on the verge of becoming homeless after falling behind on rent and facing eviction.
"It's kind of hard, I been doing ok. I've been on a lot of medication for depression because I lost my son four years ago," Sneed told us.
Her 20-year-old son Joshua died in a car accident, she said.
SIGN UP FOR FOX 26 HOUSTON EMAIL ALERTS
Sneed is one of 1,600 people diverted, moments from homelessness, through the Community COVID Housing Program, which provides rapid rehousing, rental assistance, and counseling.
"For the Salvation Army, we've been able to touch within our system, 46% of every person experiencing homelessness in our greater Houston area. Out of that, 50% we've been able to get resourced into permanent housing," said Zach Bell, Area Commander of the Salvation Army of Greater Houston.
The Homeless Coalition says the Point In Time report counted 3,055 peopler were homeless in the area on January 19, 2021.
"49% of those are staying in a place not fit for human habitation or outside, like park benches, cars, etc, and 50% are staying in emergency shelter, housing, or a safe haven," said Ana Rausch with the Coalition for the Homeless.
Data shows the Black community is by far the hardest hit.
"They make up about 56% of the total population experiencing homelessness, but only about 20% of the Harris County population," said Rausch.
Now Rausch worries that the CDC Eviction Moratorium expriring March 31 could lead to an increase in homelessness.
FOR THE LATEST NEWS UPDATES, DOWNLOAD THE FOX 26 NEWS APP
Sneed is grateful to have been saved from the brink.
"I just thank God because ... I just thank God. Just thank God because he brought me a mighty long ways," said Sneed.
Anyone facing homelessness can call 211, the United Way Hotline, or go to the Salvation Army's webpage.
People wishing to help can find ways to donate at www.HomelessHouston.org or the Salvation Army.