NewsWest 9 Story Brings Help for Homeless Family

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Since NewsWest 9's story about Martha Santos and her 12-year-old son, Ricke, aired Thursday night, her phone's been ringing off the hook.

"Maybe 40 calls and E-mails," Santos said. "I can't even remember how many."

All from West Texans who saw the story and now want to help them get back on their feet.

"I never knew there was so much good people in this world," Santos said.

The Permian Basin's response was so fast, Martha and Ricke had a place to stay Thursday night, a comfort for the homeless working family.

So many people have called into our station, offering clothes, rooms, money and even a car for them.

Now some people are offering to help set up a bank account for them and put them up in a motel room until Santos gets paid next.

Their high-rent homelessness is only one case among many.

A Midland survey back in January revealed 184 homeless people but officials know there are more thanks to high rents. They just haven't added those numbers yet.

So far in 2012, Odessa numbers show 71 homeless people and the survey found the number one reason they were staying homeless was inability to pay rent or their mortgage.

But Martha and Ricke's story is taking on a happier note with West Texans banding around them, giving them a chance to get back on their feet.

"Thank you for helping us," Ricke said. "You have good hearts."

To add your own support for the family, you can call Martha at (432) 741-9340.

For those of you wondering what can be done about these constantly rising rent prices, it's against state law to cap or control rent prices.

Rents can only be changed during a natural disaster, like a hurricane, or by the governor's approval.

But that hasn't stopped people in Odessa from trying.

In fact, they've got an online petition going for a rent stabilization ordinance.