Fix Houston

How to End the Cycle of Homelessness

For one expert, the answer lies in education and mental health treatment.

By Timothy Malcolm January 30, 2020 Published in the February 2020 issue of Houstonia Magazine

In 2012 Houston's homeless population stood at 8,500. Thanks to The Way Home, an innovative collaboration between regional organizations to house as many people in need as possible, that population has been reduced to 3,938, according to a December 2019 count. In that sense the Bayou City is now an example of an urban center leading the way to end homelessness. “But that’s 3,938 too many,” says Anna Rausch, vice president of program operations at the Coalition for the Homeless, the lead agency for The Way Home. To get more of the city’s homeless into housing, the coalition is focusing on educating both landlords, who often turn down renters with Section 8 vouchers, and the public, about how easy it can be to lose one’s home. “There’s a number of people in Houston that live paycheck to paycheck, and just losing a job could mean losing your home,” she says. “And we don’t have a great mental health system in Texas, so we definitely need supportive service dollars for mental health treatment.” 

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