Houston Places More Chronically Homeless Into Permanent Housing

Houston leaders are working to get the city's more than 2,000 chronically homeless citizens into permanent housing.

Every year, homeless organizations conduct a count of the number of people living on the streets and in shelters in Houston.
Of the 8,000 homeless Houstonians, about 2,500 are identified as chronically homeless.

Last week, volunteers fanned out across the city to identify and interview as many of those people as possible and determine what services are necessary to get them into permanent housing.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says they interviewed 847 people on the streets.

"Eighteen percent were veterans, 15 percent were women, 20 percent had been victims of some sort of domestic violence, nearly half have identified mental health issues, nearly half suffer from one or more serious chronic health conditions."

The people identified as most vulnerable are quickly being moved into permanent housing, along with mental and chronic health services.

"It's not just hey we find you an apartment, we give you a key, you're good to go. You have to wrap services around it. And we already have five of those who were interviewed will be in housing at the end of the week."

Parker says they also have a goal of placing 300 homeless veterans into housing within 80 days.

The city estimates the chronically homeless cost taxpayers more than $100 million a year in public resources.

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...