In May 2019, the only homeless shelter in Killeen, Texas Friends in Crisis abruptly closed its doors (temporarily) due to lack of funding. The homeless residents began camping out in the Friend in Crisis’ lawn, soon private citizens were donating tents and sleeping bags for the residents. Roughly about 25 tents popped up and the lawn became known as “Tent City”. The homeless residents of “Tent City” depended on the kindness of private citizens and small churches to provide food and clothing to them.
We began visiting, donating, and working with the homeless residents to acquire resources from the community. As the Texas heat rose, we became desperate to find an indoor placement and utilized the media to educate the public of the plight of the homeless residents of downtown Killen. We held a community meeting to in the hopes of coordinating our resources with citizens and organizations. We had a difficulty finding an indoor solution to housing the homeless residents. Not one Church opened its doors nor did any business offer to legitimately help. Note I wrote “legitimately”, I say that because there was a business owner who volunteered to help, but after the media faded away, so did he.
Three of the homeless residents openly shared their frustration with the closed shelter as it only met immediate needs of nighttime shelter. The homeless residents wanted better job opportunities and knew that meant acquiring better job skills. A transitional shelter is needed to provide housing, job training, money management classes, employment assistance, mental health, and etc is needed to end the cycle of homelessness.
It was apparent that a new shelter needed to be created to help the homeless residents truly get on their feet by providing all the resources and opportunities that the closed shelter didn’t provide. However, we lacked funding and a building. We’ve had such an outpouring of support by private citizens who’ve asked to volunteer that we believe creating a nonprofit shelter run by volunteers is the solution to the homeless situation in our community.