Head Count of Homeless in Amarillo

Women and children are becoming homeless in Amarillo at a faster rate than men.

That information is key for the city of Amarillo this week as they are trying to figure out how many people are homeless, and who they are. 

NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg joins us live in the studio with more on how the facts may turn into funding for area agencies helping the homeless.

The city is conducting a survey to try to find out how people are becoming homeless, what services they need and how many children are with them. 

This will help them get a feel for who needs what kind of help. But it's more difficult than you may think.

"So many people are afraid to say they are homeless or they won't answer the survey and if you don't answer the survey they won't count it,  but it's as good as they can do, but it's not going to be accurate, but there will be many more than what shows up," says Rick Phillips with Faith City Ministries.

Tonight close to 90 people are bunking at Faith City Ministries, mostly women and small children.

That information will help the city know what kind of grants to request from HUD and FEMA.

"It's strictly for planning purposes, get an idea of who the homeless are in your community and what their needs are," says Patty Hamm with Amarillo's Community Development.  

"It's important because we have to go to all the sources we can to fund what we do here," says Phillips.

The head count is taken every two years. Faith City received about $10,000 in grants from  the last one.

Phillips hopes the city sees the need for transitional housing from this survey. "That takes them to the next step, it's not permanent, but it gets them out of shelter until they can get permanent living," says Phillips.

The head count continues tomorrow, the city should have a feel for the number of homeless in Amarillo later this week.