New programs focused on lowering homelessness in Amarillo

KFDA Lowering homelessness in Amarillo

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The City of Amarillo is dedicated to lowering the homeless population.

Following the second official count of homelessness in Amarillo this year, the total number dropped from 732 people in January to 653 people in July.

According to the Director of Community Development, it’s too soon to determine the reason for the decline directly.

It could range from anything between people traveling during the summer to citizens having been placed in proper housing.

Although the total has decreased, the City of Amarillo is still very concerned about the percentage of people who are facing chronic homelessness in the area.

“We do know that we have a huge issue with the percentage of chronically homeless in the City of Amarillo,” said Director of Community Development, Juliana Kitten. “Our number is currently 30.9 percent, the national average is 24, surrounding communities, Lubbock, Dallas, those kinds of places are more between ten, twelve percent, and Abilene is seven,"

However, to bring that number down, the City is implementing programs such as the 'Coming Home' and the 'Veterans Initiative' program.

The 'Coming Home' program looks to provide intensive in-home supports.

It will do things such as helping the homeless obtain I.D.’s, complete housing applications, receiving benefits, work with landlords, assist with job searches, connect with medical care and visit the homes at least once a week to meet with residents.

As of right now, the program serves 34 households, but it will look to double that amount soon.

The 'Veterans Initiative' program has seven different agencies that meet every week, specifically regarding the list of homeless veterans.

The agencies will then undergo a process of filtering through every name and seeing what needs to be done to get that person housed.

Also, anyone who isn’t on that list, which mentions being a veteran, will be added to that list immediately and will become a part of that program.

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