More than 500 Houston homeless provided housing within 6 months, mayor says

By Cathy Hernandez - Reporter, Brittany Taylor - Digital News Editor, Lea Wilson - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that more than 500 people living on the streets of Houston were provided housing within six months.

Turner, and the city's housing coalition, through a project called The Way Home, found permanent housing for 548 homeless people from March through August. 

The city approved Turner's ordinance in May to help stop crime-ridden homeless camps. The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas filed a motion to stop that ordinance, and a district judge issued a temporary restraining order to block it.

VIDEO: Mayor Sylvester Turner announces city surpasses its goal%INLINE%

Turner said the city hit a few bumps in the road, including Hurricane Harvey, but he is proud of the results. He honored several organizations with a Dec. 18 proclamation award for their involvement in helping hundreds of people get off the streets of Houston. 

Jose Canterra is one of many taken off the streets after he was provided a home and entered into a substance abuse program to help him better himself. He said he was homeless for 13 years and stayed in and out of shelters.

"It was a lot of things going through me. Jail, divorce, you name it. I'm getting back to reality and looking for a job," Canterra said. "I just want to get my life together. I'm thankful for the agencies and everyone who help me."

Turner said they are not saying, "mission accomplished" yet. 

"If there is still on person on the street," he said, they want to see them do well. The organizations provide substance abuse programs while helping them search for jobs.

There are still 3,400 homeless people in Greater Houston area with two-thirds in shelters and the rest on the streets.

"These are people, not potholes. It's going to take time," Turner said.

The Houston homeless population is down 60 percent since 2011.

He also stated their mission to help Hurricane Harvey victims who are currently living in tents to be assisted in housing. 

The mayor is passionate about stopping the growing issue and plans to use a METRO facility to temporarily house 75 homeless people.

METRO approved an agreement Friday to move the plan forward.

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