‘The Way Home’ Changing Pathway for Houston’s Homeless
Multi-Agency Blueprint Aims to Provide a Solution to Homelessness by 2020
HOUSTON, Texas (Tues., July 1, 2014) —- The Way Home campaign launched today with support from homeless advocates to provide a solution to homelessness in Houston by 2020, according to a plan proposed by the Houston/Harris County Continuum of Care (CoC).
Individuals participating in the kick-off event held at the Westin Downtown Houston included: Bob Pulster, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness; Marilyn Brown, President & CEO, Coalition for the Homeless of Houston and Harris County; Mandy Chapman, Special Assistant to the Mayor for Homeless Initiatives; Daphne Lemelle, Community Development Director, Harris County Community Services Department and CoC Steering Committee Vice Chair; Wanda LeBlanc, Harris County Public Housing Advisor; Celene Meyer, Episcopal Health Foundation and Secretary of the CoC Steering Committee; and Thao Costis, President & CEO, SEARCH Homeless Services, Inc.
Today, there are about 5,300 people living on the streets of Houston or in shelters on any given night, according to the recent Point-In-Time Count. That’s enough people to fill more than 85 percent of the Miller Outdoor Theater. The three-phase blueprint sets to end chronic and veteran homelessness by 2015, youth and family homelessness by 2020, and build a system which never allows anyone to be without permanent housing for more than 30 days.
The Way Home brings to life a collaborative effort, lead by the Houston/Harris & Fort Bend Counties Continuum of Care, with the support Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County, Mayor Annise D. Parker and the City of Houston, to tackle this community problem. The key ingredient to the efforts’ confidence in success: permanent housing with supportive services. Presently, the necessary housing is 95 percent funded with more resources in the pipeline.
“Every day without permanent housing is matter of life and death for our most vulnerable citizens,” said Marilyn Brown, President & CEO for the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/ Harris County. “Housing coupled with supportive services ensures that individuals succeed in remaining stably housed. The Way Home provides a clear, focused, collaborative strategy for our community; and it is working to provide a solution to homelessness.”
The partners leading The Way Home are already producing significant decreases in the overall Houston homeless population. The Coalition for the Homeless recently announced a 37 percent decrease in overall homelessness with a 57 percent decrease in chronic homelessness and a 40 percent decrease in veteran homelessness in the last three years. This was accomplished by finding permanent housing for 1,550 chronically homeless individuals and 2,245 veterans with the appropriate level of critical services to remain stably housed.
Learn more about The Way Home and how to get involved at www.thewayhomehouston.org.
The Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County is a non-profit, 501(c)3 whose mission is to provide leadership in the development, advocacy and coordination of community strategies to prevent and end homelessness. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) named Houston as a priority community to help end homelessness. Learn more at www.homelesshouston.org.
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