Better Efficiency Could Help Houston's Homeless

Houston's homeless shelters operate individually, but could soon have a universal coordinating system to provide services more efficiently.

A $100,000 grant from Chevron will allow the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County to develop a coordinated intake process for the region's shelters.

Coalition CEO Connie Boyd says Houston is the largest city without such a system.

"It's very interesting to me that a city this size has been functioning and trying to help people in need without something that's much more coordinated. What we do now is basically a system by word of mouth or by phone calls. And so what we're trying to do is really get some coordinated system that we can efficiently connect resources that we may not have known about before."

Boyd says an integrated system would allow homeless shelters to share immediate information about services available in the region.

"Who has a bed available tonight for a mom and child? Or who has a bed for a veteran? So we're hoping to be even that specific. What we hope to have at the end of the day is common practices that we believe are consistent across the board, access to information that they haven't had before and as real-time as possible on beds."

Boyd says on any given night there are more than 8,500 homeless people on the streets in the Houston region. The Coalition plans to launch the coordinated intake process as a pilot program next year.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...