By C.J. Vetter
HAYS COUNTY – Former unhoused individuals members of the homeless population recently had an opportunity to receive furniture for their new homes.
The Central Texas H.O.M.E Center, an organization dedicated to addressing the homeless crisis, helped the new residents furnish their homes with donated items on June 23. The event served as a way to help mitigate the costs of a new apartment or home by supplying gently used furniture, and is part of a larger effort to combat a growing housing crisis.
Those seeking aid were instructed to arrive at 9:30 a.m. and could select from a variety of items held at a storage facility near San Marcos City Hall. The H.O.M.E Center partnered with the San Marcos Code Compliance Department for the event, and helped four families furnish their new home with everything from couches to tables.
“We contacted the city of San Marcos Code Compliance team and asked if they had furniture items that they might be able to contribute, so that our families who have been unhoused for a long period of time can just transition right into their apartments with furniture, household items, pots and pans, anything they might need,” said Hannah Durrance, H.O.M.E Center Program Manager. “All these individuals are just like newlyweds, they’re starting over with absolutely nothing, moving into a new place after they’ve already lost everything, either through eviction or income reduction.”
The H.O.M.E Center primarily acts as a case manager for those they assist, providing immediate relief when necessary and connecting those in need to pre-existing community resources, while also educating the public and performing an annual point-in-time count to collect data about homeless populations in Central Texas.
“One of the gentlemen we have right now getting housing is a homeless veteran, who had been living in his vehicle for months before we identified him, and he’s 65. He’s got fixed income, and was working-part time, and was just struggling to make ends meet and couldn’t afford housing anywhere,” Durrance said. “Now he’s in low-income housing and he’s got some support around him. We’ve got him to the VA and got him some support through there. Now he’s much more stable and we’re helping him get furniture and get him his own place.”
While efforts to help continue, the H.O.M.E Center is currently lacking volunteers, which are necessary to help drive around those who cannot do so themselves, load and unload donations, and other vital positions. The organization is seeking volunteers who can help assist in any shape or form. For those interested, visit https://www.homecentertx.org/how-to-help to learn how to volunteer or make donations to the group.