Killeen homeless in need of shelter facility - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Killeen homeless in need of shelter facility

Posted: Updated: Sep 16, 2009 06:23 PM CDT

by Natasha Chen

KILLEEN - Since the Home and Hope Shelter closed last November, there has been no facility in Killeen to meet the needs of the growing homeless population.

"Home and Hope has some older units, and they needed a lot of rehab work," said Leslie Hinkle, Killeen's director of community development. "And of course with that became a need for funding."

Finding funding and organizations to start a project would be challenging, according to Councilman Larry Cole.

"As much as we would all like to do something, it just looks like we don't have the money or the resources or the people or the organizations to take care of the problem," Cole said.

Councilman Juan Rivera told News Channel 25 that he would like to raise the issue as an agenda item in the near future. He said it would take a lot of coordination with other charity organizations.

While brainstorming ideas, Cole said, "There are several duplexes of pretty good-sized properties that were built back in the '50s that could be renovated, and you could purchase the place for probably less than $20,000. It would take a lot of rehabilitation, but it could be done, and then asking the local churches to take on the responsibility."

The closest existing shelters in the area are in Temple and Copperas Cove. There are a total of 500 homeless people in Bell and Coryell counties according to the latest count, done in 2007. Leslie Hinkle said that a new count is expected next spring.

"You will see an increase in the numbers with unemployment being high, and just pure economics as they are, I believe those numbers have increased some," said Hinkle. "That has always been the gap that's been missing in our community is a true family shelter. Hopefully in the next year or two something can be developed to meet those needs."

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