‘It can happen to anyone’: Woman talks homelessness struggles in Wichita Falls

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Homelessness is a problem many people and families face every day.

In fact, the homeless population right here in Wichita Falls is growing at an alarming rate. The negative stigma around being homeless is something Jodi Karns said she used to believe before it happened to her.

“I used to have judgment about homeless people and I’d always say, well you know McDonald’s is hiring, all the fast food places, there’s seasonal work here, and now I completely understand,” Karns said.

Karns said though she’s actively seeking work, a trip to get a valid ID after her old one expired, showed her just how many obstacles those homeless people have to face.

“They gave me a list of requirements or what you needed for proof of residence and it was a mortgage, proof of payment, it was a rental agreement, it was a gas bill a light bill,” Karns said.

All things Karns doesn’t have at the moment and without proof of residence she can’t get an ID and without an ID she can’t get a job. This leaves her at the Salvation Army, which is housing but only at night.

“We can stay inside and watch the news and stuff until about eight. Eight o’clock you have to leave the facility,” Karns said.

From there Karns said she usually heads to a local park, a place with a restroom and shelter.

Steve Sparks, who is CEO of the Faith Mission, which is one of the only homeless shelters here in town, said he hears the same misconceptions and concerns over homelessness each day.

“The people that we shelter at both of our shelters, they are just regular folk who are down on their luck most of the time and need somebody to care about them and give them a second chance,” Sparks said.

Sparks said in order for them to have a second chance they need to be provided the opportunities to succeed.

“A lot of the clients that we serve come in with just the clothes on their back. They’ve lost their identification so we start at ground one trying to find their birth certificate, their social security card, their identification, if they qualify, we’ll help them get a drivers license,” Sparks said.

Karns wants people to know that many who are homeless are hard-working people but that sometimes the odds are just stacked against them.

“It can happen to anybody, I’m 54 this is not where I thought I would be and it’s frustrating and we do need resources, first off being help.”

Jodi Karns

Help that would go a long way in her life and in the lives of many.

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