“Coming Home” program helping Amarillo’s homeless

“Coming Home” program helping Amarillo’s homeless
A brand new program by the City of Amarillo is hoping to give Amarillo's chronically homeless a place to call home. (Source: KFDA)

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Coming home has a new meaning, especially for those who have been without one for so long.

“Coming Home” program helping Amarillo’s homeless

“Coming Home” is the name of the pilot program created the city of Amarillo to partner with those who help the homeless, like Christ Church Camp of New Beginnings.

“City leadership was very supportive,” said Juliana Kitten, Director of Community Development for the City of Amarillo. “They’re very committed to working and doing something, just trying another approach for our chronically homeless.”

Alongside a new home, the 25 individuals or couples receiving a Housing Choice voucher will be given intensive support services through the city and the Texas Tech Department of Psychiatry that’s catered to meet their specific needs.

“The first six months when someone goes into housing is really a critical period,” said Kitten. “If they can make it past those six months, they can go past a year, and then further.”

John Michael, who has been living at Christ Church Camp, was heading to his new apartment this afternoon.

He says it’s more than just his home.

“If we succeed then others behind me will have an opportunity,” said John Michael Bonhomme. “So I feel like it’s a lot for me to prove, not just for myself, but for others.”

The Founder of Christ Church camp, Amanda Hunter, says now residents have a renewed hope knowing a home and those who will continue to be there for them is in their future.

“We want everybody housed and we want them housed permanently. So following up with them on a regular basis throughout this process, that’s going to make or break it. Honestly, statistically speaking it’s what makes it,” said Hunter.

It’s Hunter and the city’s goal that everyone will have a place to call home.

“When I was first approached about the housing vouchers, my answer was absolutely yes, put me out of business. I would be very happy to have no need for me anymore, no need for our camp.” said Hunter.

It costs about $920 to furnish an apartment for individuals who for so long have only known a tent.

Xcel Energy has helped furnish two apartments.

“One thing we really like about this program is it’s not just providing four walls,” said Wes Reeves of Xcel Energy. “It’s helping them get established in that home and there’s something to be said about a sense of normalcy.”

If you’d like to be a sponsor for the Coming Home program, you can reach out to the City of Amarillo’s Community Development Department.

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