Homeless count 2018

Evelyn Durant, part of the homeless program at the Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Medical Center, talks to Frank Chapa at Feed My Sheep. Durant and others were participating in the 2018 Point-in-Time Survey of the homeless in the area.

Early Thursday morning, when it was still dark and cold, about 20 people showed up at the Salvation Army McLane Center of Hope to participate in HUD’s Point-In-Time Survey.

The Point-in-Time count is a survey of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single night in January.

In Temple, the early morning volunteers were sent off to check known sites where homeless are believed to stay, including the Temple library, in wooded areas along Loop 363, behind Lowe’s, and in areas of East Temple.

A group went out to survey the parks around Lake Belton, going out as far as Iron Bridge Park.

“We only found two people,” Mental Health Deputy Bob Reinhard said.

There were quite a few homeless up and about early at the Temple Public Library.

There were a couple of people in the vicinity who remained asleep, including a person bundled up tight and lying on the sidewalk at the entrance of the library and another in an alcove of the building across the street. Both were in the same places an hour later.

Each person surveyed was given a plastic bag filled with a number of hygiene items, socks and a snack. There were blankets as well as sleeping bags, donated by a local church, to be given out to those who sleeping on the streets.

This year, the Point-in-Time survey was available on an app. Some volunteers embraced the idea of the app, others used paper surveys instead.

At around 10:30 a.m. additional volunteers showed up at Feed My Sheep on West Avenue G to survey those who go are regulars at lunch.

Eveleyn Durant, with the VA, surveyed Frank Chapa at Feed My Sheep.

Chapa, 57, is a peacetime veteran, having served from 1980 to 1983.

He came to Temple in 2002 from Austin having heard about the Temple VA’s domiciliary and its programs. He now sleeps on the sidewalk at the Temple library.

Chapa said he’s abused alcohol and drugs and he thinks he might be bipolar. Chapa said he had been a homeless a number of times, with several instances a result of his girlfriend behaving erratically.

The surveys are sent to the Texas Homeless Network in Austin and the results are sent on to HUD, where the numbers are used to determine how much funding states will receive for homeless initiatives.