Homelessness Increasing But Funding Is Not

Patty Hamm, City Housing Administrator
Patty Hamm, City Housing Administrator

It could end up costing you more as local homeless assistance continues to dwindle in the struggling economy.

A lack of funding and increasing demands are causing most organizations to struggle. As more local residents struggle to pay the bills so are the organizations who are trying to help them.

This year, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Organization or "HUD" is providing three hundred thousand fewer dollars to the Amarillo community, and because of less funding many organizations are struggling to keep their doors open.

Of the tax money that goes to the homeless most pays for emergency room visits and jail time. As the homeless population grows so could these costs.

City Housing Administrator Patty Hamm says,"Oh, I think we're all feeling the effects. So especially the poor how could they not feel the effects even more."

One organization struggling to pay the bills is the Downtown Women's Center.

Their transitional housing program has seen an influx of families needing help but most are being turned away.

Executive Director Diann Gilmore says, "I know that. I think this is the largest group of transitional housing we've had for 13 years and I've been involved for the last 13 years."

This means more families will not receive rent assistance and will likely stay in homeless shelters or on the streets longer than they would have.

That translates to more of your tax dollars paying for these services. Gilmore and other organization leaders are working to get a 30 day Intreatment clinic.

She says this will help many homeless with addictions get back on their feet and off government assistance more quickly.