2 Amarillo Continuum of Care programs receive federal grant to help homeless

The homeless population in Amarillo has continued to be an issue for years. (ABC 7 Amarillo- Kendra Hall)

The homeless population in Amarillo has been an issue for years, and a federal grant will continue to help one organization address the problem.

Operation Homestead, a program within The Salvation Army, and Shelter Plus Care in coordination with the Texas Panhandle Centers, will receive thousands in grant money, as announced Thursday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

There will be $88,239,025 distributed between 205 organizations throughout the state.

Operation Homestead will receive a renewal grant of $293,383. Shelter Plus Care will receive $310,368.

According to Major Harvey Johnson with The Salvation Army, a monthly meeting made up of between 40-45 different groups, agencies, churches and individuals to address homeless issues in the area, submitted a list of projects that dealt with groups apart of CoC, or Continuum of Care programs.

Major Johnson tells ABC 7 News a committee not involved selects priorities, which is how the two programs received funding.

“The whole purpose is rapid re-housing," Major Johnson said. "Taking people who are homeless and doing case management with them, help them to learn of the resources they need to remain in their own house. So, we have money to pay rent for families, but part is meeting with a case worker so that those goals are continued to be worked on, so that at some point they may be in a position to have either the support they need through disability or to be in a position to have a better job by getting additional training.”

State Senator Kel Seliger said anytime someone is homeless, it is a sad situation.

“There [are] legitimate concerns when it comes to public health, substance abuse [and] mental health - things like that, that people need to be aware of," Sen. Seliger said. "An awful lot of people are not homeless just because they want to be homeless. There's a reason that they are.”

Major Johnson said that The Salvation Army will have to match 25 percent of the funds from the grant given to Operation Homestead. He adds that more than 50 percent of The Salvation Army's budget comes from donations from the community. If you would like to donate, click here.

Sen. Seliger tells ABC 7 News progress cannot be made without people willing to help out.

“It starts with the compassion that people have for other people and that carries over into those non-profits,” Sen. Seliger said.

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