Killeen: Officials to ask city for funds to help reopen homeless shelter

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) With the Friends in Crisis homeless shelter now closed for more than two weeks, officials will head to city council Tuesday in hopes of getting funding to help 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," said Larry Moehnke, Families In Crisis' board vice president.

At Tuesday's workshop meeting, Moenke and the board will ask the City of Killeen for $10,000 a month -- or $120,000 annually -- and waivers for water, sewer and garbage.

They will also ask for a one-time payment.

"If we get some assistance upfront and we're asking for $60,000 for one-time payment for the rest of the year. That would allow us to get to the point where we're close to opening," he said.

Currently, it costs close to $30,000 a month to operate the shelter, Moenke said. Most of previous funds have come from private donations.

The shelter usually holds close to 75 people a night. Since the shelter has closed its doors on May 18, people who slept inside are still outside the building with nowhere else to go.

"Reality kind of hit. I was like what am I going to do? Where am I to go? It was actually cold that night; I just slept on the bench," said Christopher Huhui.

He says he's been in Killeen for about two years, depending on services from the shelter to get back on his feet.

The shelter is allowing the homeless to stay outside as long as the area is kept clean. The community has also helped in a big way – bringing food, water, hygiene products – even a grill and cooler.

Susan Ross brought homemade sandwiches out to the homeless Monday afternoon. She says her son was homeless years ago.

"Learned how many people helped him along the way when he was in dire straits. All I can do is pay it on," she said.

Paying it forward is what officials hope the city and residents will do. As of Monday night, he says they've raised close to $62,000 in donations with $200,000 still being the set goal.

"It's all of our responsibility not just one organization. It's the responsibility of the city to go ahead and help support programs that are effective in changing people's lives," Moenke added.