Two years... Many needy Amarillo families are having to wait that long before they are able to get HUD rental assistance.
With the HUD waiting list so long, one local organization is taking matters into its own hands and helping these families out. Those wanting to move into HUD apartments around Amarillo might have to wait two years...causing some to make drastic changes... Phyllis Cook with Panhandle Community Services says "we see a lot of people move out to rural areas because there's a much shorter wait there." For those who don't want to leave Amarillo, there could be another option." Misti Ebenkamp runs a transition housing program at the Downtown Women's Center. She says "If they agree to a two year program with me where they take classes and counseling, we can move them up on the list and get them a HUD voucher and get them on their way to self sufficiency."
Cynthia Parker says the program has changed her life. "The program has really helped me. I've learned how to do a budget and how to get my priorities in line. It's helped me get more stable." Helen Martinez has been on the program for almost a year. "I have a home. A three bedroom house." And she can't say enough good things about it. "If I didn't have this program, I don't know where I would be today." For those who aren't in the program, they're forced to wait... And it could be costing the community, says Cook. "They'll start looking for money elsewhere. They're going to hit up churches. They're going to talk to local senators. They're going to look for help from non profits."