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Homeless community asks for more action as they battle cold temperatures

Posted at 5:20 PM, Nov 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-17 21:41:39-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — According to the City of Corpus Christi, there are 850 homeless people in the city as of their last count in 2021.

That’s 850 people who will need a warm place to stay, food, and clean clothes. 

Homelessness Assistance Programs provide funding to local governments and non-profits to serve people affected by homelessness. 

In 2021, the City of Corpus Christi was awarded nearly $3,000,000. 

This year, the Salvation Army was given grant funding worth $104,000 

Kyle Knutson, the Social Services Director for the Salvation Army and the Homeless Issues Partnership Coalition President said outreach has changed significantly in the last 5 to 10 years. 

“Funding of course drives everything. I wish it wasn’t. I wish everything was free,” said Knutson. 

The funding coming from the city is there for agencies who are willing to apply for it. 

“It’s up to the organizations to accept that money. We are one of the organizations to accept that money. Hope House also accepted that money,” said Knutson. “The tie back to that is because its government funding you will be audited, you’ll have eyes on you. It’s more difficult to work with,” he said. 

Knutson thinks the lack of resources is tied to how many other agencies can back up the funding. 

As for what the city offers, the emergency weather outreach team is activated during freezing conditions. During this outreach, the team passes out bennies, gloves, blankets, and hand warmers. 

Offering the same services, Marilena Garza who runs Free Store Corpus Christi is asking the city to take more action.

“Why can’t you put together a commonsense approach to a lot of these problems that will continue to happen. They learned nothing during the big freeze,” Garza said.

As one of the lowest barrier resources. Garza is happy to see people trust her. She invites anyone to reach out and ask for help.  

Suzana Venezia has been living on and off the streets for 3 years. When it gets cold, she knows where to go.

“There is a huge need for more and I'm hoping the city can do more because right now it's just regular people that are providing the most love,” said Venezia. 

The next point in the count of homeless people in our city will be done in January. By knowing how many people need assistance, the city can provide more resources. 

For now, people are encouraged to seek assistance at Metro Ministries during the day or Good Samaritan Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army for overnight assistance.