The Face of Homelessness
POSTED: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - 4:56pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 8:28am
EL PASO - Millions of dollars in federal grant money is headed to El Paso. It will be used to keep people off the streets.
"I've gotten rid of being radioactive waste. I am somebody. God has made me somebody," Larry Lochala said.
Lochala, a 62-year old veteran, was homeless for about 12 years.
"They found me in a dumpster on Paisano and Santa Fe. I was so drunk, so tore up, so angry at the world. I hated myself. I hated everybody," he said.
Lochala's life was turned around through faith, and with the help of the El Paso Housing Authority he now has a roof over his head.
The El Paso Housing Authority was just awarded $94,000.00 to keep assisting homeless veterans.
"If we had not received this funding, we would see an additional 15 homeless veterans out on the streets again," Roman Velasquez, the Director of Public Housing, said.
However, it's not just veterans. The El Paso Coalition for the Homeless says there are 1,400 homeless people in El Paso on any given day.
"Just check any alley and you'll see a carton, flat down boxes, and a butt goes on those boxes. They're not there now in the daytime. It's hotter than hell outside. Where do you think they are? They're high, they're getting drunk, they're doing their thing," Lochala said.
Lochala admits bad choices may have led some of them there, but he says sometimes it's not their fault.
"Look at our economy. I have a Master's Degree," he said.
That's why $3.7 million is much needed in El Paso.
"Homelessness doesn't end at 5 o'clock when most of our days run out," Michael Flores, Vice-President of the Coalition for the Homeless, said.
In all, 22 programs will split the grant money to help El Paso's homeless population.
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