Last week, we launched a workforce development program in collaboration with Harris County Precinct 2 and Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. that supports those experiencing homelessness in east Harris County.
According to the Coalition for the Homeless, nearly 4,000 people in the Houston area are experiencing homelessness. This innovative partnership – rooted in community development – empowers our most vulnerable neighbors with the tools, skills, and support to help them overcome barriers to success. It connects program participants to affordable housing, employment resources, and other critical services through Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. It also allows them to earn an income by completing community development projects.
Commissioner Adrian Garcia’s Office funded the six-month pilot program, which actively recruits participants and provides them with transportation, meals throughout the workday, personal protective equipment, and the necessary training and tools to properly remove graffiti from bridges, roads, and buildings. Weather permitting, participants will have the chance to work on a first come, first served basis Monday through Thursday for about $50 a day.
Our Homeless Outreach Team deputies are in the community doing all they can to help those without housing. We have dedicated Deputy Medina to the program to coordinate with our partners on worksite locations, crew schedules, transportation needs, and other important logistics. He is serving as the program lead.
On the first day of the program, participants removed 28 graffiti tags at four different locations in east Harris County.
Large Signal Box at 16931 Eastex Frwy
Asian Food Company at 14215 Eastex Frwy
Abandoned Building at 13111 Eastex Frwy
Their work continued this week in the Channelview and Cloverleaf areas and will eventually expand to other quality-of-life and community beautification projects in east Harris County, such as removing trash from illegal dumping and maintaining clean parks.
On Thursday, participants started their day with warm showers and fresh clothes at Hope Center Houston before attending a Resource Day at Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. There, staff and volunteers shared more information about their comprehensive services, which range from job training to counseling and peer support. Participants also received on-site health screenings from UTMB Health and assistance applying for a Texas Identification Card and Harris Health’s Gold Card, a lifeline for affordable medications and clinic visits.
Homelessness is among the most important, complex issues facing our criminal justice system today. We must work together to address these issues through multi-faceted strategies and compassion.
This workforce development program is an example of community policing and what can be accomplished when law enforcement agencies and the community come together.
We are proud to be part of this collaborative approach setting a viable path forward for those experiencing homelessness. Although our partner agencies have different missions, we’re all united around the call to serve our most vulnerable neighbors and keep everyone safe.