Mayor Turner unveils plan for Houston's homeless

Mayor Turner has outlined his plan for the homeless and panhandling issue.

HOUSTON - Mayor Turner unveiled a new six-point plan to tackle the city's homeless problem Thursday.

Turner said that the city has cut the homeless population in half over the last six years and only a third of those now sleep on the streets. He said he's looking to the 100 public and private groups who made that possible to cut the number down even further.

Expanding the program, the 'Way Home Initiative', is at the center of the mayor's plan. 

Turner said 500 chronically homeless people will be put in permanent supportive housing within six months and called on more landlords to help out.

He wants to secure, manage and create covered outdoor spaces with restrooms where up to 75 people could stay temporarily. City council members and neighbors would decide where the areas will be.

The city says they'll continue to clean up encampments while the homeless are transitioning to shelters and housing and expand HPD's homeless outreach team.

The mayor said he'll also be giving council members a new ordinance banning tents on public property, like those popping up under the Southwest Freeway in the Museum District.

Turner hopes to get council members that ordinance and an aggressive panhandling ordinance by next week and says the city will continue to push the state and federal governments for mental health and substance abuse funding.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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