When like-minded people faced with similar tasks get together, problems get solved.
That was the lesson learned Tuesday night at the Killeen Neighborhood Planning Meeting at the Killeen Arts and Activities Center downtown.
Kevin Moody, site director for Communities in Schools, has been struggling to find transportation for his high school-age at-risk parents in Killeen, who cannot drive their children to child care and stay in school at the same time.
The situation is one of the most common reasons for dropping out.
Several years ago, Janell J. Frazier, executive director of Central Texas 4C, went down all of the necessary state and federal avenues to get transportation for children of high school-age parents.
The program now assists the children of student-parents with transportation between school, home and child care in Belton and other area cities.
“It’s not happening in Killeen, but it is happening all around,” Frazier said. “It’s kind of sad because, for the parent, there’s no way to make it logistically happen.”
As Frazier and Moody exchanged information Tuesday, a program to assist young teen parents in Killeen began to develop.
“That’s how a community works,” said Leslie Hinkle, director of community services for the city of Killeen. “You ask a question that she know something about and the connection is made.”
Many other issues were discussed during the meeting attended by several area nonprofits, including the Jesus Hope & Love Homeless Mission, Families in Crisis and the Greater Killeen Free Clinic.
Each year, the city is granted about $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to distribute for Community Development Block Grants and Home Investment Partnerships Act grants.
Community members at the meeting nominated housing for the homeless as a top priority Tuesday.
The city currently does not have a homeless shelter.
Moody said there was a need for housing for 18-year-old high school students, who do not qualify to stay at youth or teen group homes because they are considered adults.
“Our main priority was housing,” Moody said. “I deal with a lot of students who are put out of their homes and it’s tough for those kids to find a place to stay for the night.”
Councilman Jose Segarra said he learned Tuesday that building a homeless shelter would qualify for grant funds.
“This shows that people have an interest in the community and that the number one for everybody was kind of the same,” Segarra said. “It’s in line with what we are already trying to do.”