The Houston Metropolitan Transit Board will vote Thursday to decide if they will partner with the city Houston to fashion property owned by METRO into a home for the city’s homeless.
Partnering with METRO and Houston Recovery Center, the city hopes a space under the McKee Street bridge could become a safe, clean area for the city’s homeless to continue living outdoors.
City officials describe the pilot program as an alternative to indoor shelters with more choices for the homeless. Additionally, it would allow people to choose a safer alternative to the tent cities currently growing under the city’s overpasses.
According to the city’s press release, “This potential pilot program would provide a safe and healthy environment while individuals work with area agencies on their permanent housing options. It would include professional management, 24-hour security and supportive services.”
Under the proposed plan, homeless individuals could work with assistive services to find permanent housing or rebuild their lives while residing in the “safe space.”
If approved, the pilot program would run for six months.
Advocates for the homeless are hailing the move as progress; however, they have reservations over the few details.
“The homeless community, all they have is their tent and their belongings. That’s their entire world. I would hope, with this, they would be able to continue to utilize their tent, have their own little free space,” advocate Shere Dore told KPRC 2.
Across the city, an estimated 3,400 people are homeless, with only 70 percent of those staying in shelters. The program is part of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s plan to find permanent housing for the homeless.