Killeen: Council moves to allow city manager to look at options to help closed shelter

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Will the City of Killeen be able to help provide funds to help reopen and sustain the Friends In Crisis homeless shelter? After the shelter was forced to temporarily close its doors, officials are now asking the city for help.

The shelter, which is operated by Families in Crisis, has been closed for 18 days. The shelter houses about 75 homeless residents on any given night in Killeen.

A request was made by Larry Moehnke during Tuesday’s workshop meeting for $10,000 a month from the city and a waiver of city charges for water, sewage and trash.

Moehnke, Families In Crisis board vice president, told KWTX on Monday they are soliciting donations from the community and in the process of applying for grants. Getting help from the city would give a much-needed boost to reopen.

"It’s time we need to go ahead and work in order to reopen this facility. Get our individuals, residents off the streets and have them in a safe, secure location,” he said Monday.

He is also asking the council to provide an upfront funding of $60,000.

The homeless shelter sits in Councilwoman Shirley Fleming’s district.

“So many constituents have called me complaining because they are upset about this,” she said in reference to the temporary closing.

Fleming says she is all for the city giving a hand, but has a concern.

“All I can say is we need to look into this a little bit better. Whoever was responsible for this, they need to be accountable for the money and make sure that everything was spent the way it was supposed to be. We don't want to get caught in this situation again,” she said.

Councilman Gregory Johnson told Moehnke that he wants to see a long-term fundraising plan and a financial breakdown.

Councilman Juan Rivera called on businesses across the city of Killeen to step up and help keep the homeless off the streets.

After a discussion, council members voted 5-2 to direct City Manager Ron Olson to move the funding request forward to the next step – finding out if the city can give any money and how much.

A second motion was also unanimously passed, directing Olson to look at funding options that could be made available immediately from the city while the budget process is going on.