North Texas Counties to Receive Federal Grant to Help the Homeless

    Sixteen North Texas counties will soon receive a boost from the federal government, in the form of about 700-thousand dollars to combat homelessness for the next two years.
   The folks at Nortex say fourth time is a charm, because this is the fourth time they've applied for this particular grant from the department of housing and urban development.
    At last count, in January, 221 homeless people were identified in the 16 North Texas counties included in the grant application.
    Nortex officials expect this grant to be able to help 60 families with rent for up to a year.
    It's one of those events where you're thankful people are helping ... but sad that there's such a need. Families who can't afford hats, coats, and scarves gather to receive donations and a free lunch.
    Dennis Wilde
Nortex Regional Planning Commission
"Kids very much touch our heart.  In our last Hope for the Holidays -- our annual event that we have at Thanksgiving -- we saw significant increase in the number of children who were served with that event.  And yes, it's a dramatic increase."
   In fact, on the far righthand side of this chart, you can see the dark purple spike in the number of children served ... from about 30 kids in 2010, to more than 120 last year.
   "The children are the most vulnerable."
    The grant money will be spent on those who are chronically homeless, are homeless right now, or are within two weeks of being evicted.  While the main focus will be on rental assistance, program administrators will work with other agencies on work training programs, counseling, and meeting other needs.
   "We're hoping that we've done our job to the point where they're self-sustaining. They have a job, they have an education, counseling is not a problem, & they're bringing in a steady income to be able to make the payments."
   "I always heard the saying, 'You're only one paycheck away from being homeless' -- I think that's true in a lot of situations. This is a program that can have an effect."
    Out of more than 200 people in need, Nortex Executive Director Dennis Wilde acknowledges that it will be tough to choose the 60 families most in need who will benefit from the program.
   He says those in the program will be monitored by a case manager on a monthly basis.

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