Amarillo Housing First helps to sign 40 leases in 7 months

Amarillo Housing First helps to sign 40 leases in 7 months. (SBG file photo)

Amarillo Housing First has been around for seven months and in those seven months, it has made a big impact.

Rick Hale was homeless for several months until Amarillo Housing First got him into a home. Now, he has been living in his apartment for a year.

"They made me feel like I was somebody, when I felt like I was nobody," said Hale. "That's the real heart and soul and it gave me the desire to keep improving my life."

Amarillo Housing First has one purpose in mind and that is to "secure permanent housing for the chronically homeless."

"We have no addiction recovery programs as a prerequisite, but what we've found is that when a person has stability, security and a home that addictions are much easier to deal with," said Chris Seright, Amarillo Housing First Executive Director. "Also, mental health stability is much easier to deal with and it is easier to find employment when you have an address."

Since January, the non-profit helped to sign 40 leases.

"37 of them are still in leases," said Seright. "That's somewhere between a 90 to 95 success rate."

Seright says that they follow the "scattered-site housing" approach, meaning clients are integrated back into society and spread out in different homes around Amarillo. The non-profit is funded from a grant and donations, but they need more to continue helping the homeless.

"We need volunteers, we need monetary contributions, we need support of the businesses and the whole community," Seright said. "When we come together, we can accomplish some really great things."

Seright says the homeless situation is not bad compared to other cities, but he does not want to wait until it does get bad.

"It's changed my perception on what is important in life," said Hale.

Amarillo Housing First has a 5K fundraiser coming up at Polk Street Nutrition on July 22.

Here is more on the event.

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