TEMPLE — The Texas Homeless Network estimated there are 560 homeless individuals in Killeen, Temple and Belton.

The numbers are based on the Point-In-Time Survey conducted in January and do not include Copperas Cove or Bell County school districts.

“We weren’t able to survey everyone that day because the weather was so bad,” said Kaye Cathey, vice chairman of the Central Texas Homeless Alliance.

Feed My Sheep, an initiative that provides daily meals to the homeless and hungry in Temple, was a site for the count, but fewer than half of the usual participants showed up that day.

The average age of the area homeless is 30, according to the report. In addition, 70.6 percent are male; 63.2 percent are white; 29.4 percent are black; 30.1 percent are Hispanic/Latino; 20.7 percent are households with families; and 30.4 percent are chronically homeless.

Of those surveyed, 10.5 percent spent the previous night in a place not meant for habitation; 11.7 percent were in a substance abuse treatment center; 13.3 percent shared housing with others; 15.1 percent were in a mental health facility; 16 percent in the domiciliary; and 20.8 percent were in a corrections facility or jail.

More than 22 percent of those surveyed had been continuously homeless for a year or more.

The largest percentage, 19.4 percent, cited unemployment as the reason for homelessness. Other reasons were: divorce/separation, 8.2 percent; addiction, 9.7 percent; physical/mental disabilities; and 15.4 percent unable to pay rent or mortgage. Those surveyed were asked if they had a disability and 32.2 percent responded that they didn’t.

Other findings:

  • 13.2 percent reported serious mental illness.
  • 13.8 percent reported chronic physical illness.
  • 13.8 percent reported post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • 18.1 percent reported substance abuse disorder.

While 65.8 percent of those taking the survey indicated they were unemployed, 72.2 percent indicated they were able to work.

The majority of the area homeless receive their medical care in an emergency room and 78.6 percent indicated they needed medical care.

Steve Wick, a liaison to the Central Texas Homeless Alliance, said he was interested in seeing some comparison numbers to communities of similar size.

“That would be really good information to have,” Wick said.

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