New Program to Help Homeless Families

By Anayeli Ruiz
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Despite the oil boom, more and more homeless families are seeking help in the Basin. Shelters are maxed out and now there's a program that could help them get back on their feet.

Odessa Links just got the funding for a new program to help get families out of homelessness. This is the only program available in the area and it has been in the works for almost 10 years. It promises to pay for a home while they get back on their feet.

"I cant stress how very realistic it is," Karen, who was homeless, said.

This woman knows first hand how hard it is to be with out a home. The woman didn't want to give us her true identity so we will call her Karen. Karen was living a normal life until she got a divorce.

"Before you know it's like how did I get here? Going from a two income to a one income everything catches up to you. Because of your family, you accumulate all these bills and expenses together," Karen said.

Before she knew it, her house was foreclosed on and she lost her job. She had no home and nowhere to go.

"It was actually between family members and friends, we bounced around for a bit," Karen said.

They tried shelters but they were full and really didn't find much help in the community. Now, Odessa Links is trying to change that. They want to offer families help to get out of homelessness, not just by offering them a shelter but a home after the shelter.

"Transitional housing is really devised to help people pursue education or increase their job skills giving them the leeway before they move to affordable housing," Erika Chavez, with Odessa Links, said.

The new project received funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the amount of $735,000. Odessa Links will receive $245,000 for the first year, that money would help 20 families pay rent.

In the meantime, the families will have to follow strict guidelines and steps to make sure they can eventually get back on their feet and move on.

"Everyone is really excited to see where this program will take the community and our clients are really looking forward to seeing impact results," Chavez said.

Even though Karen and her kids are not homeless anymore, she thinks the program will help many families who are going through the tough situation she had to go through.

"I think it would of helped just in the assistance in finding an immediate home and once you have that home and that foundation, everything else seems to fall into place," Karen said.

So far, Odessa Links has six families on the list for the program. Odessa Links is looking for housing in the area to put those families in.