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Federal funds used to help homeless find housing in one Central Texas county

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 7:01 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - The Central Texas Council of Governments, or CTCOG, and the Killeen Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team are working to distribute about $250,000 in American Rescue Plans funds to help house homeless residents in Bell County.

CTCOG says the funds will pay for 40 housing vouchers, half of which have already been issued.

The vouchers will pay for application fees, deposits and rent for individuals who are homeless, victims of domestic violence or at risk of becoming homeless, CTCOG and Officer Kyle Moore who runs the police department’s outreach team say.

How much the voucher cover will depend on how much income the homeless residents already have.

Finding landlords willing to rent to the homeless is challenging, Moore said, so, part of the voucher money will be used to provide an incentive to landlords.

Landlords who agree to partner with CTCOG will receive $1,000.

Additionally, they will receive $500 for each tenant participating in the voucher program to whom they lease.

Moore said he and his team are personally putting extra checks in place to ease the concern for landlords.

“Each month we’ll do monthly checks,” Moore said, “come in there say, ‘hey how is everything going?’ I’m also going to keep track of all the police calls, EMS calls,” he said.

Minnie Loken who has been homeless for a few months following her eviction from her Killeen apartment said this kind of help has been long awaited.

“I think it’s time for the government to step up and try to help people instead of putting people in jail and put people in the homeless shelter,” Loken said.

“They need to do something, and they should have done this a long time ago,” she said.

The vouchers expire in September 2023.

CTCOG said it hopes to receive more federal funding and to transition current voucher recipients to more independent living situations by then.

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