More than 200 homeless survive in Crossroads
BY SONNY LONG - SLONG@VICAD.COM
Feb. 8, 2013 at 2 p.m.
Updated Feb. 8, 2013 at 8:09 p.m.
POINT IN TIME HOMELESS COUNT - Total number, by county
Victoria - 33
Victoria - 96
Calhoun - 75
Gonzales - 7
DeWitt - 2
Goliad - 1
More than 200 people in the Crossroads are without a permanent home, according to figures released Friday by the Victoria Area Homeless Coalition.
Coalition members and other volunteers conducted a Point in Time Homeless Count on Jan. 24, spreading out across the area and attempting to identify those without housing.
"We conducted more than 500 interviews and learned that many families are in the midst of a housing crisis," said Ginny Stafford, chief executive officer of Mid-Coast Family Services. "A shortage of affordable housing is the biggest challenge most people named as the reason they are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless."
Though the total numbers are down slightly from the count conducted in 2010 - 279 to 214 - Stafford said the problem remains a big one, though some might not meet the criteria set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to be considered homeless.
"Many families are living doubled up, which simply means one family moves in with another because of financial reasons," she said. "While this may work for awhile, it often puts a real strain on both families while they manage day-to-day living in overcrowded situations."
Of the 214 counted as homeless, 181 were considered unsheltered. By definition, this means living outside, in a garage or other places not meant for human habitation.
It also includes temporary housing paid for by a church or other charitable organization and those who have received an eviction notice and will become homeless within two weeks.
"For the first time this year, we heard of families who are tripled up, meaning three families in a single-family dwelling," said Stafford.
"Those families are not counted as homeless unless they have been notified in writing that they must move out within seven to 14 days."