TEMPLE, TX — Hundreds of people are living in Central Texas right now with no place to call home and according to the Central Texas Homeless Coalition, this year that number is larger than before.
Jenniitia Fields is just one of many of those people. For the last two months Fields and her son have been homeless.
"I lost my job, and then I couldn't keep up with the payments of the rent and things like that. And of course they're not going to let you stay if you can't pay," said Fields.
Bruce Johnson also has no pace to call home.
"It's not easy. You're out here. You don't know if you're going to be able to eat from one day to the next. You don't know where you're going to be able to sleep at or anything like that," said Johnson, who has been homeless for the last three months.
Last year, when the Central Texas Homeless Coalition did their annual count of the amount of homeless people in the area, they found 325 people. Now, this year, that number rose to 409.
Homeless people in the area shared they were not surprised by the findings.
"There's a lot of people that I've known that have been homeless," said Patricia Mulholland who has been homeless for eight weeks.
"The way that the jobs are going, I don't think it's that surprising . I think that it's going to be a struggle forever. I just hope that you know we get more facilities like the Salvation Army that will be able to assist more and be able to house more," said Fields who has been staying at the Salvation Army.
"We get phone calls every day with people wanting to know is there a bed available and can they come into the program. And so, we know for sure that outside of the 70 beds we have, there's still people out there needing a place to go. We also know that because we have a food pantry and this time last year we were only serving around 70 people a month and this past month we served 320," said Lt. Chantel Millin, Commanding Officer of The Salvation Army in Temple.
Representatives from the coalition said the goal with the homeless count is to get insight on who needs help so that they can then provide ways to help them.
"Well, the next step is to we want to be able to identify some services that we may be able to apply for. We also want to utilize some of the services that are already out there in the community," said Ebony Jackson, chair of the Central Texas Homeless Coalition.
The Central Texas Homeless Coalition serves Bell, Lampasas, Coryell and Hamilton counties. Coalition members believe the larger number of homeless people could be attributed to their ability to gain a more solidified presence in the area over the years.