AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A new program to help Amarillo's homeless get back on their feet is getting ready to kick off.
The city of Amarillo's HOPE program is a six-month pilot program that begins on Monday. HOPE (Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement) was achieved through a partnership with the city and the nonprofit Amarillo Housing First. Assistant City Manager Kevin Starbuck said their mission is to connect the homeless with a temporary work program and other support services they need.
"Whether it's a mental health issue, a substance abuse issue, a homeless veteran dealing with PTSD or other issues, we want to get them connected with the right support service, and get them the help that they need so that the systemic cause of what has brought them to a point in life where they are homeless is addressed," said Starbuck.
Participants will be paid to clean up areas of Amarillo twice a week for about six hours a day. They will also interact with social workers who can help identify their needs. The city is providing Amarillo Housing First with a van to recruit homeless people in the area for the program. Amarillo Housing First Executive Director Chris Seright said they're looking to bridge the gap between the homeless and existing resources in the city.
"The problem is, is that there is a disconnect. The homeless may not know where to go or how to get in touch with those resources, or may not have transportation to those resources once they find out where they can go to get assistance, and that's what we at Amarillo Housing First specialize in," said Seright.
Amarillo Housing First has also partnered with local sponsors to provide meals each day to those who get involved. The High Plains Food Bank is looking to supply a food pantry for the HOPE program as well.
For more information on how you can get involved with the hope program, call Amarillo Housing First at (806)414-2243 or visit amarillo.gov.