On any given night, more than 550,000 people will experience homelessness in the United States. But new data may show a decrease in homelessness in Bell, Coryell, Lampasas and Hamilton Counties.
The Central Texas Homeless Coalition counts how many people are living without a home every year. For the first time, they did a second count in the summer.
Last January, there were 409 homeless counted. But in August, the numbers dropped to 287.
While pinpointing the reason for the drop in the numbers is difficult, 25 News talked to Killeen Police Officer Kyle Moore of the Homeless Outreach Team.
”That’s a combination of we were actually able to house a bunch of people, get them off the streets, and then there was a little period of time when our shelter was shut down for a little bit. We did have a lot of people that did leave the area,” said Officer Moore.
Friends in Crisis, a shelter in Killeen, says that they are seeing an influx in clients. They reported having had 101 people staying the night on Monday. On Sunday, there were 84 people.
The shelter has 78 beds, but they roll out cots on nights that they are overfilled.
“Homelessness is a revolving door, so you’re always finding someone that’s in need,” said Officer Moore.
These homeless population counts are tied to funding. Outreach teams use the data to support requests to secure grants to provide better service to those in need.
Regardless of the numbers, the homeless prevention advocates 25 News spoke to say they are committed to ensuring everyone has a warm bed of their own.
The next count is on Jan. 23. Volunteers are welcome to attend.