East Texas homeless numbers up - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texas homeless numbers up

A recent East Texas study shows the homeless numbers in East Texas are continuing to rise. The reasons may not be clear. Drug and alcohol abuse or the economy. Longview shelter workers and those who are homeless say that it could be a little of both. The Northeast Texas Homeless Consortium held its annual point-in-time survey to find that in a 6 county East Texas area, there were 650 listed homeless.

"It could happen to anybody , any walk of life, any color and race," says homeless Vietnam veteran Don Woodard.

"Its really hard to find jobs right now a lot of people think you can go out and get a job anytime , but you can't," says 21 year old homeless man Shane Thomas.

Between Longview's Highway 80 rescue mission and House of Hope women's shelter, over 160 homeless are house each night. Drug and alcohol abuse create many homeless, but others know it could happen to anyone, anytime.

"Basically unemployment. We think the economy's pretty good right now but actually its not," Woodard says.

The study also shows the number of homeless women and children have increased over the past year.

"February 7th we'll be here 7 years and we have seen almost 8-thousand women during that time. In my case, circumstances made me homeless. I had lost my husband in a fatal car accident and he did not leave me completely independently wealthy," says House of Hope director Helen Johnson.

Shelters are aware of the increase and will , as always , make allowances for a problem that will always be.

"This is the last place I ever thought I'd be one day I'm at home , next day I'm here," Thomas says.

Longview shelters will make provision to feed and house as many of the homeless as they can each day.

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