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Why a local group’s trying to get a headcount of the homeless in Hays Co. for the first time

Hays

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — “We were sometimes sleeping in the van, we were sometimes living in motels, we spent three nights in the homeless shelter here,” remembers Hannah Durrance.

When Durrance moved to San Marcos seven years ago, she found herself homeless with four children.

“I was not sure I could make it at some points because it was just so hard to juggle so much working. I was working four jobs and I still couldn’t afford rent here,” she says.

Durrance was homeless for six months.

When she finally found housing, the 2015 floods hit, rendering her and her children homeless once again.

Working 62 hours a week and being a full-time college student at Texas State University, Durrance finally got some breathing room when an affordable housing unit opened up.

She also noticed a big problem when talking to the agency: Hays County isn’t getting the resources it needs to help its growing homeless population.

“The first thing someone asks when you’re asking them for grant money is, ‘Well, what is the problem? What is the need?’ And if we can’t say, ‘Well we have 170 in just the San Marcos area, let alone the county,’ if we can’t give them that sort of information, then they’re going to move on to the other counties,” says Tegan Debrock, who co-founded the HOME Center of Central Texas with Durrance, a nonprofit homeless coalition, back in May.

That information is gathered through PIT count, or Point in Time count.

It’s never been done before in Hays County. Tegan and Debrock are organizing a count for the first time this Thursday.

They have about 20 volunteers and are looking for 20 more.

Each volunteer needs a 20-minute training.

HOME Center of Central Texas PIT count volunteers will meet at the San Marcos Public Library Thursday morning. The event will run in shifts from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (KXAN/Tahera Rahman)

They will meet at the San Marcos Public Library on Thursday before heading out in pairs to ask people questions.

The data will go into an app on their phones and straight to the Texas Homeless Network.

“Then someone from their organization reviews it and puts it into the national database,” Durrance says.

“We’ll know a little bit more detail about how those people are being helped and how they’re not being serviced.”

All that data will be returned to the HOME Center within a few days, Durrance says.

Then, they will distribute it to local groups that help with people experiencing homelessness and those with low income.

To find out more about the HOME Center and their PIT count, click here.

You can also call at (512) 270-8433.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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