East Texas agencies helping homeless in wake of state ban on public camping

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:29 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Local agencies are working to help people experiencing homelessness in the wake of a new state law banning camping in public places.

Over at Gateway to Hope Day Center, Director Errin Dixon said they have seen about a 40 to 50 percent increase in traffic.

“At first it was like 20, maybe 30 people. Now it’s more like 60, 70, 80 people a day,” he said.

Most come from the Salvation Army shelter where they stay overnight and are out by 8 a.m.

“We try to offer them services like job searches, we try to share God with them which is our main purpose anyway,” Dixon said. “Just share God with them and try to be that shoulder that they can lean on to help them get to the next level.”

The Tyler Street Team said they are seeing a few new faces as well as those experiencing homelessness that they’ve known for a while. At the Salvation Army of Tyler, Indus McDuff is a case management supervisor and said they have about 70 of 200 beds that are filled up currently.

“Our residents are out between the hours of 8 and 4. Most of them have jobs, so they’re at work. If they don’t work they’re looking for work, so they have things to do,” McDuff said. “Gateway is a big help because they can go over there to the day center and look for jobs, get on the internet, put in applications, those kinds of things.”

The Tyler Street Team said many people are still living without shelter, due to some degree of mental illness or lack of available mental healthcare. PATH and the Andrews Center have been instrumental in making assessments available to those who need them.

If you know someone who might need help, you can click here for the Highway 80 Rescue Mission or Salvation Army, click here.

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