To the Editor:
Homelessness is a nationwide problem. A recent point-in-time survey conducted by the Texas Homeless Network (2018), reports there were 325 homeless individuals living in the Bell County area.
Here in Killeen, we see homeless individuals on the streets, often with a cardboard sign in their hand, asking for a few dollars or whatever change you can spare.
The signs often explain the loss of a job, a recent eviction and a family they are desperately trying to support. There are numerous individuals who claim to be military veterans in need of assistance.
Then there are elderly individuals, who claim to be alone and no family to assist them. They are sitting in their wheelchairs, holding their signs and describing the loss of a spouse, home, and difficulties obtaining any type of disability.
Do you as a concerned citizen offer them money, food or do you tell them where they can go for assistance? I give whatever change I might have on me. I have on several occasions asked how they ended up on the street, especially those veterans.
I have asked if they tried getting assistance at a few of the shelters in the Central Texas area, or do they even know where they can obtain help.
What about the young adolescents who are experiencing homelessness? How are they managing school while homeless? According to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, homelessness is defined as children and adolescents who lack an established residency.
These youths have no roof over their head, they are living in an unstable environment and the accommodations that they currently live in are typically unsafe.
Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, any students experiencing homelessness have the right to an education, they have the right to attend the school where they are currently living, or at the school they were attending when they became homeless (Department of Education, 2016).