One Night Without A Home - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


One Night Without A Home

In Tyler, the One Night Without A Home Event is showing families, and even children, the struggles East Texas homeless face every night.

The Salvation Army opens their doors to anyone whenever the temperature is expected to drop below 40 degrees. Coincidentally, that's where participants got their first "literal" taste of what it's like to be homeless.

Starting with dinner they ate alongside real people from off the streets.

"Then we walked all the way there to here at the park," said 13-year old Christian Burr. He and his mother Kishl are among the hundred or so East Texans participating. 

When I saw this advertised I was like this is perfect. Not only could I experience but my kid could come," said Kishl Burr who plans to stay the night with her son.

After walking from the Salvation Army to Bergfeld Park they listened to a panel of speakers.. Kari Howell, one of the speakers was homeless for 3 months.

"You just do what you got to do to surivie. Find somewhere to sleep and eat and do what you go to do to get up out of it," said Kari.

She then lived at the Salvation Army for more than a year. With some help, she is now back on her feet. She told us there are a lots of stereotypes about homeless people that she hopes this event can help put to rest.

"Part of it is mental conditions or disabled people. It's a stereotype on people that they are lazy or they don't want to work that just not true. Sometimes you just come on hard times and it could be anybody it could be any of us and I think people should understand that" said Kari.

Understanding is just what Christian and Kishl got through a man they met at dinner. 

"This guy was on the street for five months and said it was pretty much like a trap and there is nowhere to go. The best place is the Salvation Army. He said it saved his life. He would have been dead without it," said Christian. 

And for the many others it was also about being thankful for what they do have.

"To humble myself and be grateful for the things I do have. Not everyone has a place to sleep at night time," said April Clary, One Night Without a Home participant.

Now organizers say on any given night, 200 people will sleep on the streets just in Smith County. They think one of the reasons for so many is a shortage of affordable housing for low income East Texans. 

Danielle Capper, Reporting


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