Killeen City Council to hear update on homelessness and mental health plan

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 3:33 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - In Bell County on average a person experiencing homelessness remains unhoused for close to seven years, according to a new study. The cities of Killeen and Temple are trying to reduce that number and pave a path forward out of homelessness through the Homeless and Mental Health Strategic Plan with consultant Robert Marbut Jr.

The consultant has now identified nine-distinct “clinical tracks” which are essentially different categories of people experiencing homelessness. The nine categories will be presented to the Killeen City Council meeting on Tuesday night.

“You must deal with each clinical track very differently, so we’re going to talk about the clinic tracks,” Marbut said.

These clinical track subgroups include veterans without jobs and people with substance abuse disorders. Marbut said each one has different needs, whether helping them find a job or addressing the substance abuse disorder.

“The most important thing to do is stop the growth of homelessness before you can even start to address reducing homelessness we need to stop the in flow of homelessness,” he said.

Killeen and Temple have spent the last several months working with Marbut. The study seeks to answer these questions: how do you deal with people that have been on the street for a very long time and what do you do to stop that.

“Dr. Marbut conducted a series of focus groups with several agencies including EMS and medical personnel,” Rashawn Smith, City of Killeen special projects coordinator, said.

Marbut said in Bell County a disproportionate number of homeless people are coming in from outside the county. The goal now is to stop that flow and figure out a path to recovery.

“If a person starts to experience homelessness, the most important thing you can do is help them recover and that’s almost always in their hometown,” he said.

In January the consultant will present a more comprehensive strategic plan to both the Temple and Killeen City Councils. The councils will vote on whether to adopt all of the strategic plan, parts of it or none of it.