Being homeless is complicated — that’s what Kerrville City Council member Delayne Sigerman, Place 4, said during her presentation on homelessness at a workshop on Tuesday.
Sigerman said she has spent the last few months researching the homeless population in Kerrville by talking to those who have experienced homelessness or are currently without homes, as well as talking with various facilities around the area that help or come in contact with people without homes, such as schools or the Salvation Army.
“There are people who come in (to the Salvation Army) who really aren’t ready for help,” Sigerman said, referring to what a woman who worked at Salvation Army told her. “They want meals, they want blankets or jackets. They just aren’t ready to go to that next step. And there are some that are.”
Sigerman said she found there are somewhere between six to 12 people without homes in total in any given month in Kerrville.
According to information from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Texas has an estimated 25,310 people without homes as of January 2018.
“We do what we can, we reach out to them, and that’s my goal is to be there to do that,” Sigerman said. “If we can help them and they’re willing and wanting to get help, we want to put them in the right direction.”
Those who are homeless in Kerrville often come for events such as the Kerrville Folk Festival and linger behind, Sigerman said. Some cases in the past are children in the school systems, or people who have aged out of the foster care system and don’t have the proper paperwork to get a job.
“Having taught for several years at the elementary, I actually encountered a second grade student who I found out was homeless,” said council member Kim Clarkson, Place 2. “I didn’t know for a while, and found out because of the state of her clothes. ... It’s heartbreaking.”
Clarkson and council member Judy Eychner, Place 3, suggested that providing educators with information about homelessness and providing resource information in schools for children who might be homeless is something that the city should look into.
Sigerman said she also hopes to put information in other areas that people frequent while homeless. Right now, there is information in facilities that help homeless people, but some may not think to go there first because they are out of the way, such as the Salvation Army.
Another idea Sigerman has is to create an awareness day and a citizens support group.
Those interested in getting involved with the council’s efforts in helping the homeless can email firstname.lastname@example.org.