The Coalition for the Homeless in Houston recently published its 2010 Enumeration of those in our city who are homeless. Over 40,000 have experienced homelessness in the past year in our city, up 20% from 2009. With all the Star of Hope has been seeing since spring, it's not surprising that the number of homeless families has doubled since 2009. Now families make up 21% of Houston's homeless population. The economic downturn has filled Houston's network of emergency bed providers and most transitional living facilities are at or near capacity. We therefore are finding it much more difficult to find agencies to which to refer families from our emergency shelters. The system is in gridlock.
I wrote a few weeks ago, wondering if Summer, 2010 would ever end. I guess you could say the weather is moderating, but we are still sleeping 80 to 100 a night in overflow on the floor of our Women & Family Emergency Shelter downtown, even in mid-September! This is an extraordinary pattern for this time of year and with the economy still ailing it may be a while until things return to "normal."
As we gear up for the Holidays, please keep us in mind if you'd like to volunteer, do a kids' toy drive or make a special financial gift for our men, women and children at Star of Hope this Thanksgiving and Christmas. And, most of all, please pray for those who are starting over in the safety of Star of Hope. God is "At Work" here every day, changing lives, one by one. Come and serve with us, and you will see and be blessed yourself! I guarantee you'll leave here counting your blessings and will have helped someone through your service!