KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
May 9, 2018
By Ashley Lancaster
This week, Harris County law enforcement conducted a "clean out" of the bridge near Rudy's BBQ near Mason Road and IH-10. Local organizations are currently seeking alternatives to displacement and jail for Katy's homeless.
(picture is of an underpass in the Houston metro area)
This morning, Katy residents noticed Harris County police clearing out a homeless encampment underneath a bridge near Mason Road, filling huge dumpsters to the brim with trash, clothing, bicycles, and other items left there after homeless men and women in Katy were removed.
The individuals living there were given warning that the clean up was going to happen there, in addition to other inhabited areas of Katy. The problem though, is that these men and women often have nowhere to go, and so end up migrating to similar places in the area for shelter. Sometimes Katy's homeless are placed in jail for lack of a better alternative.
Tina Hatcher, founder and director of Hope Impacts, which provides hope to homeless, helpless, and under-resourced people in Katy, is passionately advocating for a long-term solution to the problem, believing that simply moving the homeless, or placing them in jail, only perpetuates a vicious cycle.
"What good does it do to identify a problem without a solution? They have no place to go where they are not at risk to be evicted again. There are not enough shelters to hold all the homeless," she says.
According to Hatcher, who knows many of these men and women on a first name basis, not all are addicts or criminals. Some have been the victim of circumstances outside of their control, and most are on housing lists, just waiting for a chance to get a job and get off the streets.
"Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect as human beings," she says.
Hope Impacts has helped 60 homeless men and women re-build their lives and get to work in the last three years, but Hatcher knows that a more permanent solution is needed.
"My vision is to have some property where we can offer affordable housing, job opportunities, community, and real help. Community First in Austin is a good model of real solutions of how to help the chronically homeless. Its a model I would love to see implemented here near Katy. Offering real solutions to a bigger problem than just one small group of people that are affected by homelessness. Lets be part of a solution to social injustice instead of just pointing out the problems created by it," she says.
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