As we gear up to celebrate a day dedicated entirely to being thankful, our Scheduled Route Couriers Dallas team asks you, what are you most grateful for? Is it your loving family? Your health? A roof over your head? Many of us take for granted the fact that we have a physical location to call home. Homelessness is becoming more of an issue in North Texas each year. In Collin County, where the mean household income hovers around $81,000, it’s tough to think that there might be residents living on the streets, but the reality is there are hundreds without a home. The Collin County Homeless Coalition works to bring awareness to the population, spread information about facilities that can help, and coordinate assistance for the homeless. One of the ways they complete these goals is through Homeless Awareness Week.
It seems a little strange to be discussing the subject of homelessness in such an affluent North Texas community where many of our Dallas Route Couriers employees reside, but that is exactly the stereotype that the Collin County Homeless Coalition is attempting to break. Homelessness does exist. And it is a problem. Last January, volunteers scoured Collin County, searching for homeless men, women, children, and families in order to get a better grasp on how homelessness affects North Texas. While the count settled at 531 people, the coalition expects the actual numbers to be nearly ten times that much. As you can imagine, it’s difficult to get an accurate count of the homeless, as you can’t exactly call them on the phone or ring their doorbell.
More than half of the adults surveyed had children living with them, which is up 50% from last year. Children make up 36% of the homeless population, but you’d never know most of them were living on the streets. These children work hard to fit in with their peers. Collin County has 55,000 students, and nearly 30% of them are on free or reduced lunch programs. Even more shocking, 1812 students in the district have been identified as homeless, which, as the On Demand Dallas Couriers team stated above, is likely underrepresented. Parents do all that they can to hide their homelessness from the district so that their children are not taken away from them.
The stereotypes that follow the homeless are as debilitating as their living situation itself. When our Scheduled Route Couriers in Dallas blog brings up the topic “homeless”, readers tend to picture a male, usually of a minority race, unshaven, begging on the streets of downtown. Sure, this model exists, but it is not an all-inclusive description. Most of the homeless in Collin County are employed, but just don’t make enough to make ends meet. Many of them are living on the streets due to reasons like the high price of health care, lack of affordable housing options, and lack of transportation.
The number of those affected by homelessness is growing. Currently, homeless shelters in Collin County are turning away thirty to fifty people each night! With freezing temperatures this past week, those numbers are even higher. The Collin County Homeless Coalition hopes to bring awareness to the homeless epidemic right here in our backyard by hosting open houses and free events for the general public during Homeless Awareness Week. The more we know about our population, the better we can serve them. To find out more information on this project, and to get plugged in as a volunteer, our Scheduled Route Couriers Dallas employees suggest you visit the coalition’s Facebook page at facebook.com/collinhomeless.