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Helping the homeless

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Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 3:53 pm, Thu Jan 23, 2014.

By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE - "Do you need job services?" Air Force Sgt. Jeremy Henderson asked George Lamb Friday.

Lamb sat in a wooden chair on the porch of a Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter home and looked at Henderson before he answered.

"I would be happy to have a job to do," he said. "I am tired of sitting."

Lamb was one of several short-term residents using the emergency facilities during the point-in-time survey conducted by the Central Texas Homeless Alliance and its volunteers.

Four volunteers dispersed through the city to the Copperas Cove City Park, outside of Walmart, H-E-B and the Copperas Cove Public Library to find homeless people.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development mandates a count in order for social service organizations to receive federal funds that aid the homeless. The survey is conducted every two years.

The result of the questionnaire contributes to receiving grant monies to help fund local programs, said Leslie Hinkle, Killeen's director of community development and member of the alliance, who has organized both Copperas Cove's and Killeen's surveys for several years. Killeen's survey was conducted Thursday.

Benjamin Tindall, director of the Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter, said having information that could help programs receive more money is a need in Bell and Coryell counties, though the shelter is funded solely by donations and partially through the United Way.

"The need is growing, and the resources are shrinking," said Tindall, noting that similar shelters in Temple had closed, and none are operating in Killeen.

The Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter has three temporary dwellings that provide shelter for two weeks to those in need.

When the homes are full, the organization directs people to Austin or Waco, which occurs way too often, said Tindall.

In 2010, the shelter housed 290 homeless people, but in 2011, 441 people resided there.

Henderson's question to Lamb was one of about 30 the volunteers asked those staying in the shelter.

Henderson, who is with the 3rd Weather Squadron, 3rd Support Operations Squadron, asked if Lamb thought there were enough resources to find a job, whether he needed legal aid, needed drug or alcohol abuse classes and more.

"I appreciate your time," said Henderson, ending the questions.

"I appreciate you, too," said Lamb, adding that he knew the survey could help people in the future.

Contact Mason W. Canales at mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHCoveEditor.

Social Services snapshot - Coryell County 2011

Coryell County residents on food assistance: More than 8.3 percent of the county's population

Average monthly food assistance payment, per case: $291

Adult Medicaid enrollments: 1,557 a month, on average.

Children's Medicaid enrollments: 3,813 a month, on average.

Children's Health Insurance Program enrollments: 719 a month, on average.

Source: Texas Health and Human Services Commission

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