Homeless increase, including teens

Homeless increase, including teens

There are more than 100 new faces of homeless people coming to Amarillo for shelter. And some aren't from the area.

Word of mouth is why many from as far as California, New York and Ohio say they are coming to Amarillo; A place they've heard they'll find shelter and more benefits.

The reason for coming is similar. Their reason for being homeless varies. Shiryl Edwards says, "I've gone through extensive illnesses. That's kind of wiped me out. And I ended up here because I couldn't pay for my housing, a roof over my head." Ramona McKinley says, "I have my daughter with me. And she's pregnant with twins. So we're trying to find a house where she can get in before she has the babies." Terry Blum says, "I ended up here because of some conflict at home with a child. And I just felt like I needed to get away."

Faith City Ministries Director Jena Taylor says for the first time they are seeing teens at the shelter. Taylor says, "Their parents are drug abusers. And they are out of the home. Or their parents have left the home. We see a lot of that difficulty. And of course we also see a difficulty with multiple partners...We're seeing a lot of teenagers with their moms. We have a single dad, his teenager next door at the family center. And so we're watching more of them come in. We've also visited with AISD. And they are seeing a huge rise in homeless teenagers. Some have their parents, some do not. And they are just on their own and homeless.

Faith City is looking to keep more teens in school and break the cycle of homelessness. Now for the homeless under the bridge in tent city, the Texas Department of Transportation says they don't have permission to stay because of safety issues for motorists as well as for themselves.

TxDOT and the city are working on a solution.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.