2015 Texas Conference on Ending Homelessness
Registration is now open for the 2015 Texas Conference on Ending Homelessness, presented by Texas Homeless Network, Region 10 Education Service Center, and Texas Homeless Education Office. The Conference will be held October 13-16, in Corpus Christi. Please visit the event website for more information and to register.
We are still accepting applications to present.
2015 Homelessness Awareness Day in Summary
Last Thursday, THN hosted this year’s Homelessness Awareness Day at the Texas State Capitol building. Around 40 participating homeless service providers from all over the state of Texas converged on Austin to meet with their representative members of congress to advocate for the men, women, and children who experience homelessness in their communities. At the scheduled appointments, advocates discussed a wide variety of topics, ranging from source of income discrimination to Medicaid expansion.
THN is proud to announce that this year’s event was the most successful Homelessness Awareness Day to date. The participating homeless service providers’ impassioned commitment to supporting Texas’ most vulnerable populations was more than inspiring. Thanks to the important feedback collected after the event, THN predicts that the next Homelessness Awareness Day will provide even more impact.
Housing First: An End to Chronic Homelessness
Carpenter's Church in Lubbock produced a great video on Housing First as an end to chonic homelessness.
New Proposal Could Bring Major Changes to Texas' Border Colonias
On Friday, February 6th, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced plans to expand funds available for affordable housing and infrastructural improvements in the United States’ colonias. A piece of President Obama’s budget for fiscal year 2016, the motion allows states along the U.S.-Mexico border to allocate up to 15 percent of their Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for projects focused on the colonias. Previously, these states were only authorized to direct 10 percent of CDBG funds toward colonia programs.
This is amazing news for Texas, and the residents of the state’s 2,000 colonias. In 2014, Texas appropriated $6.1 million for colonia improvements, with an additional $1.5 million for the local Colonia Self-Help Centers. By increasing the percentage of CDBG funding available for colonia improvements, more development projects can be designed and implemented in the Rio Grande Valley. This change would undoubtedly bring relief to a greater number of the area’s most vulnerable populations, who often deal with unsafe housing, improper sewage systems, and a lack of street lighting.
For more information regarding this landmark decision, click here.
UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine Accepts $2.88 Million Dollar Grant
Last week, at a grand announcement introduced by Governor-elect Greg Abbott, the United Health Foundation awarded $2.88 million dollars to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine. The funds were allocated to expand the University’s developing Colonia Integrated Care Program: VIDAS (Valley Interprofessional Development And Services). The Colonia Integrated Care Program aims to stream-line regional health care delivery services in order to better connect low income families to the region’s resources. The specific services of the program will include upgrading available medical screenings, health education, and dental and mental health services. Further, the new program will also focus on standardizing the training practices of regional promotoras (local instructors who provide community health education).
The United Health Foundation grant marks an impressive step forward in improving the health of one of the sickest and most under-insured populations in Texas. Although it is well known that the area’s high rates of preventable diseases create a major financial burden for local taxpayers, little progress has been made in curbing the rampant crisis. Expanding knowledge of healthy living practices and access to medical resources with the Colonia Integrated Health Program will undoubtedly bring relief for many low income families.
That being said, this investment will not resolve all of the health issues that are distressingly pervasive throughout the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Rehabilitating substandard housing, expanding health care coverage, and circulating health education are only a few of the pieces that are needed to improve the quality of life in the area long-term. Only with a targeted, cohesive development strategy is holistic health reform possible in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.