Area homeless will soon have access to an intensive program offering rehabilitation and counseling services in town.
Panhandle homeless with mental or drug abuse problems will be able to improve their lives and integrate with the community thanks to a new program the Texas Panhandle Centers will be offering.
They're partnering with the city of Amarillo and all its shelters to make this outpatient treatment program successful.
Diane Gilmore with Amarillo Downtown Women's Center says, "This has been long time coming. And all of the shelters are very excited. Because we know if someone goes through a 30 day residential treatment program, that they're going to have a better chance of making it work with our program. And their opportunity for staying clean and sober will increase tremendously."
Substance abuse and mental health go hand in hand. And they're the number one reason people are homeless in our country and community.
The 30 day outpatient program will offer psychiatric and crisis services as well as life skills training during the day. Then at night the homeless return to an area shelter.
It's going to be the first intensive treatment program in over 20 years that will be available in the panhandle area. Texas Panhandle Centers Director of Planning and Public Information Jim Womack says, "We hope to see this as a diversion program to prevent people that are homeless from going in to the jails and cycling in to the jails and the hospitals. Because if we can reach those individuals before they get arrested or before they get hospitalized, that will save the taxpayers money. Get them back into society, and productive members of society."
They hope Amarillo will also be able to provide its own residential treatment program, for people who can afford it, in the near future. Womack says, "We also hope to partner with other agencies, maybe integrated healthcare in the future. Just address the whole person not just specific issues because that way if we're addressing all the issues. Be gainful employed, be back in a home instead of being out on the streets."
The program was granted about $400,000 this week by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.