CBS Evening News visits Victoria

CBS News Special Contributor María Elena Salinas, right, conducts an interview in Victoria. Producers with the national news broadcast visited Victoria for part of a series about homelessness in America.

A national spotlight is shining on Victoria’s homeless population.

Producers with CBS Evening News visited the city this week to film for part of a series about homelessness in America, said Angel Canales, a producer with the national news broadcast.

“To know that what’s going on with the homeless in Victoria is going to be recognized at the national level is sobering, to say the least,” said Ginny Stafford, the executive director of Mid-Coast Family Services. “It makes us want to rise to a new challenge regarding homelessness here.”

Part of the broadcast’s series about homeless will focus on small towns, Canales said. About one week ago, Canales said, he called the Texas Homeless Network which recommended two small Texas towns to visit, one of which was Victoria.

“I did some research, and felt Victoria was the place we should go,” he said.

The crew was here for about two days, partly during the annual Point-in-Time count, a census designed to count the number of people experiencing homelessness as part of a nationwide effort to capture a snapshot of homelessness in the country. Canales said the crew met “a lot of awesome people, including a lot of people that are having a hard time.”

Stafford said she was asked by the news crew if the Victoria community is doing everything it can to help the homeless, and her instinctive response was “no.”

“But I realized, I don’t think any community is,” she said. “If communities did everything they could, there wouldn’t be a homeless problem. It was sobering.”

Canales said he hopes the series highlights the situations of the homeless in a way people can relate to.

Homeless is not new, he said, but it’s important to showcase real people in real cities where the issue is prevalent. He wasn’t able to share when the series would air.

“Our hope is that people can watch, and while we may not have the answers to how to solve this, we can do this in a way that will show people the real situations of the homeless in these different places,” he said.

Morgan Theophil covers local government for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6511, mtheophil@vicad.com or on Twitter

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