El PASO, Texas (KTSM)- While other Texas cities are seeing a spike in homelessness, the Sun City is actually experiencing a decline.
According to the El Paso Coalition for the Homeless, although the Sun City is the sixth-largest city in Texas, the homeless population is considerably lower compared to other Texas cities. The Coalition said it is due to the community-wide efforts.
“I can’t speak for other places in texas but I just think El Paso is so fortunate that we have a great community working to end homelessness,” Ashley Lemell with the El Paso Coalition for the Homeless said.
According to the Coalition, homeless population numbers in El Paso dropped 7.65% since January 2019, the last time they did the count.
This means 809 people are living in El Paso streets or centers, compared to 876 in 2018.
Lemell said with the help of community agencies they can house people and keep them off the streets and bypassing shelters.
“We can help them get their own place to support them for two or three months, and then are able to make the rent on themselves because we’ve connected them to jobs,” Lemell said.
In the State’s capitol Governor Greg Abbott called state agencies to clean underpasses where homeless people generally camp out.
Local agencies don’t believe this will become an issue in El Paso even as the city continues growing.
“As we apply for more money from HUD we’re planning on having, we’ll find out soon enough, we’re planning on having more housing available in our community,” Lemell said.
With 13 emergency shelters and eight transitional living centers in El Paso, local advocates say they want to change the public mindset of homelessness and house those who may not have a home, despite any sobriety issues or disabilities.
“The issue is you want housing, yes, well here’s a home for you, and once you get in that home now we can provide those services, now we can link you up to AA or the Emergence Health Network for mental health,” Lemell said.