Lubbock Homeless Population is Rapidly Growing; City Prepares for Upcoming Winter

City leaders blame the growing economy for the rise in the homeless population in Lubbock.
 

Leaders of local charity organizations are blaming Lubbock’s growing economy for increasing the city’s homeless population.

“We have doubled our capacity since last year,” Les Burress said. “So instead of having 20 to 25 [residents] we are having 50 to 60.”

Les Burress is in charge of Tent City.

He said folks are moving to Lubock to find work but when they don’t find a job quick enough they end up on the streets.

City leaders met Tuesday to talk about the problem.

“The South Plains Homeless Consortium is a collection of agencies who help the homeless and the impoverished,” Burress said.

Burress met with Major Tim Grider of the Salvation Army, as well as leaders from Lubbock Catholic Charities, Goodwill and the Red Cross.

“That is kind of the center of our master plan,” Major Grider said. “It is time to partner. The solo kingdoms don’t work anymore. To help the community, we who help, need to be communal.”

Both the Salvation Army and Tent City said in recent months the number of families and single men seeking their help has drastically increased- and as of right now there is nowhere for them to go.

“Outside the Salvation Army and Tent City for a homeless person there is not a lot,” Burress said. “We have Family Promise, which they deal with families, but they are at capacity too.”

The Lubbock County Jail donated about 100 mattresses to Tent City.

Burress said they are looking to convert their recreation building into a bunk room, using those mattresses, to help accommodate the growing population.

But with only one full washroom on site Burress said the plan is going to take some time.

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