Laredo has a large number of homeless in the city that don't really have anywhere to go. So some local officials decided to do something about it. They were able to raise money to build a facility for the homeless. The newest addition to the pro 8 news team, Lauren Kendrick, has the story.
"This is the future site of a permanent housing facility not only for homeless, but also for those who suffer from drug addiction and mental illness."
"We have many entities such as Bethany House and Salvation Army that provides temporary housing, but this project will provide permanent housing."
Congressman Henry Cuellar announced the $890,000 grant for a permanent housing facility for the homeless as they transition into self-sufficiency. In addition to the H.U.D. grant, Webb County District Attorney Chilo Alaniz, Sheriff Martin Cuellar, and Javier Santos, on behalf of the Fernando A. Salinas Trust, donated money bringing the total amount of funding to a little more than a million dollars. The project is being called the "Next Step Project" and will be housed in the building formerly known as the women's shelter of Laredo.
"We will have some rental property for them so they can go and up to twenty individuals can stay there."
South Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse will set up screening criteria to decide who will qualify for the supportive housing services.
"So a lot of our referrals will be coming in maybe from the jail, people that really have no business being incarcerated because their problems are more mental illness or substance abuse."
Cuellar knows there will be some resistance when it comes to getting the homeless people into the facility.
"Some of them we probably have to spend a little time talking to them making sure they understand this is an opportunity because if you look at it some of the homeless especially the ones that have been out there aren't used to being constrained."
The District Attorney feels this will be a proactive approach to a reduction in crime. The South Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse is confident that the doors to the “Next Step Project” will be open in September or October later on this year.