TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It is not just a problem in big cities. They can be found right here in East Texas. More than 700,000 people across the U.S. are living in shelters or right on the streets. PATH, or People Attempting to Help, is trying to change that.
PATH is teaching the community about homelessness, by having them live it. At the Salvation Army in Tyler, where the Smith County Coalition for the Homeless is kicking off their second "One Night Without a Home." Organizations say up to 400 people in Smith County go day to day without knowing where they will spend the night. It is a statistic they are trying to change by working together with the community to support the constant problem.
"I think that the situation doesn't go away," said Tony Chung, Director of East Texas Rescue Mission. "I think we can try to put a band aid on it, but I think we can really make a difference if we try to get them making healthy choices, staying off of drugs, helping them find a jobs, and just kind of help them along the way."
One of the biggest ways organizations are trying to combat the problem is just by getting the word out with events like "One Night Without a Home." Groups say dispelling homeless stereotypes and focusing on giving those in need a hand up rather than a hand out is their goal. They want to stress to those unfamiliar with the problem.