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March 17, 2017
Post by Jennifer Paulsen, Director of Development & Communications

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Here’s some trivia for you. What I thought was just a day of parades, Shamrocks, all things green, including the river (yes – you, San Antonio), and pretending to be Irish, is actually an official Christian feast day. According to Wikipedia, “The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.” 

However, unless you live in a cave, the news of Trump’s “budget blueprint” or “skinny budget” is unavoidable and makes it difficult to feel celebratory about anything, especially if you work for a homeless service agency. Read the message from NLIHC’s Diane Yentel about the proposed budget. Moreover, if you are here in Texas, you are bracing yourself for the state budget cuts. It’s like being in a nightmare where giant scissors keep chasing you around.

Read more: Happy St. Patrick's Day - oh, and about the budget...

Posted 3-10-17
By Caitlin Bayer, Balance of State Programs Coordinator

 

I jokingly refer to the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ (NAEH’s) conferences as “work-Christmas,” mostly because of my excitement level. The new information, the innovative solutions, the networking opportunities! This work is hard, and it’s even harder when you feel like you’re doing it alone. NAEH conferences re-energize me because it reminds me that the solution to homelessness is out there and there are people who are on fire to make it happen. For those of you who were unable to make it, here are my top 10 takeaways from the best and brightest minds I heard from during the conference:

Read more: Top 10 Insights from the 2017 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness

Posted 3-9-16

By Jason Phillips, LMSW, THN VISTA Program Manager

 

AmeriCorps is hard work. It is more than groups having fun doing community service projects together. It is more than the good vibe of serving others or working on an issue that you are passionate about. It is more than simply serving your community. It is challenging. It can be isolating when you are the only member at your organization. It can be frustrating when you learn and see how long it takes to change processes or old ways of doing things. It can be disheartening when you see firsthand the unnecessary suffering, oppression, and marginalization that populations experience because of our systems failing them. It is hard work.

 

However, it can also be, and often is, one of the most fulfilling and impactful experiences a person has. A year of service is often a kick-start to a career and a learning experience that can be much more enriching than anything found in a classroom.

Read more: AmeriCorps – The impact on those who have served

March 3, 2017
Post by Jennifer Paulsen, Director of Development & Communications

On Tuesday, February 28, Texas Homeless Network hosted Homelessness Awareness Day (HAD). Forty-four homeless service providers visited 50 offices representing Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth, and communities outside of the metro areas. It was encouraging to see so many people show up excited to educate their legislators on homelessness.

 

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This is only part of the group – the rest were getting information for visits and missed the photo!

 

The goal of the visits was to educate legislators, especially those sitting on key committees, on homelessness in Texas and discuss funding in jeopardy of reduction or elimination in General Appropriation Bills HB 1 and SB 1. The funds in question are the Homeless Housing Services Program (HHSP) that serves major metro areas, and the Balance of State Continuum of Care (BoS CoC) Technical Assistance program that serves non-metro areas.  

Since 2012, homelessness has decreased by 32% and we expect the 2017 numbers will also show a decrease. However, this success is mostly due to important funding sources such as the Homeless Housing Services Program (HHSP) and the Balance of State Technical Assistance program grants. It’s vitally important that we keep the funding we have for programs ending homelessness so we can keep this momentum going.

Read more: Homelessness Awareness Day a Success!

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“If you believe in great things, you may be able to make other people believe in them, too.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

Homelessness in Texas

On any given day, there are more than 23,000 people experiencing homelessness in Texas. Over 2,200 are families with 4,400 children under the age of 18 and an average age of seven. Nearly 200 children under the age of 18 are unaccompanied (not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian). There are 1,700 Veterans, many with families.

Homelessness Awareness Day

We will be presenting this information to our legislators next week during Homelessness Awareness Day at the Texas State Capitol. Since the Texas Legislature only meets every two years, we have to maximize this opportunity to get our message across about homelessness in Texas. The most effective way to do this is by visiting their offices and providing information on the state of homelessness.

Texas Homeless Network and its partners have a standing policy priority to support the expansion of affordable housing, increase opportunity for the most vulnerable to access health care services, and eliminate barriers to housing. However, the State must balance its budget, which means money has to come from somewhere, usually cuts to existing programs.

Read more: 2017 Homelessness Awareness Day - Sign up now!