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‘This answers everything’: City of Amarillo proposes possible solution for the homeless

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 8:39 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Amarillo’s homeless population may soon have a new place to call home.

During the latest Amarillo City Council meeting, the Director of Community development for the city proposed the creation of a community for the homeless, called a “Pallet Shelter Village.”

The city plans to use a little over $1 million from American Rescue Plan Act funds to kick start the project.

Other funding would be needed from other community groups.

At last count, city officials say Amarillo has about 539 homeless people and of those, almost 70 percent are unsheltered leaving them on the streets.

Those are the ones the city wants to concentrate on with this project.

Right now, in Amarillo there is one day time shelter and two night time shelters, but it is not enough and sometimes the homeless face barriers.

“This answers everything, it answers not being able to take your belongings in with you and having to store them somewhere else and hope they don’t get stolen and same with pets — that is a huge barrier and always has been,” said Sherrie Ferguson, executive director, YCCO.

The shelters can accommodate up to four people and are equipped with everything from electricity to security.

“A pre-fabricated shelter that is made to withstand all kinds of extreme weather, whether its super hot or super cold, they are very easy to construct,” said Jason Riddlespurger, director of community development, COA.

Community bathrooms and showers would also be built, not attached to the shelters.

The location is still to be determined, but the city would like it to be around 5th Avenue and Bowie Street because that is where the new Guyon Saunders Resource Center will be.

“We want to have a lot of case management that’s going to be on scene, so that they can share resources, you’re going to have folks that come from the bus station or maybe need to use the bus in order to get the resources throughout the city, so that area makes a lot of sense for all of these things to be in the same area,” said Riddlespurger.

The council will be reviewing the proposal and make a decision on proceeding with this project.

Riddlespurger says realistically it would take about a year to finish this project.

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