City task force, police, Samaritan Inn take additional steps to address homelessness in McKinney

A task force on homelessness has recommended using part of the Roy and Helen Hall Memorial Library as a resource center.

A task force on homelessness has recommended using part of the Roy and Helen Hall Memorial Library as a resource center.

As the number of homeless people increases across Collin County and McKinney, officials and organizations are working to find a solution.

During the Point-In-Time Homeless Census Report conducted in January, Collin County identified 558 people experiencing homelessness. In McKinney, 42 people were identified as homeless—three times the number reported in 2018. McKinney ISD reported 627 students experiencing homelessness in 2019, according to the PIT.

In May, McKinney formed a task force to address homelessness. During an Aug. 5 City Council work session, the task force recommended using the library as a resource center.

Janay Tieken, housing and community development manager and staff liaison for the task force, said the resource center would allow nonprofits and organizations to connect people experiencing homelessness with resources they need, including help finding a job, securing a place to stay and signing up for food stamps.

The center would be located upstairs at the Roy and Helen Hall Memorial Library, 101 E. Hunt St., McKinney.

“We could put together a 20-page plan that would take three years to execute and in the meantime do nothing. So this is, ‘What can we do now? What can we do with the reasonable costs? What lessons can we learn now while we’re looking for the permanent solution?’” Scott Elliott, City Council member and member of the task force, said during the work session.

No decision has been made about the resource center, but it would be a temporary space, according to Mayor George Fuller. City staff will bring a cost analysis before City Council to consider at a later date, Tieken said.

During an Aug. 20 City Council meeting, members authorized the city manager to apply for and accept, if awarded, a grant through the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance. MDHA has set aside $1.2 million in grant funding for Collin County for projects to help address homelessness, said Rick Crocker, CEO of The Samaritan Inn.

Crocker said receiving this grant would be “one more arrow in the quiver to address the needs of homeless individuals in McKinney.”

If the grant is awarded to McKinney, it will be used for rapid rehousing and a case management position at The Samaritan Inn.

The Samaritan Inn is a nonprofit offering shelter to homeless people who are drug- and alcohol-free and have not been convicted of violent or sexual crimes. Due to the structure of The Samaritan Inn, the nonprofit is not eligible to receive the grant, but Crocker said the center would partner with the city and provide case-management services for 12 individuals or families for 12 months.

In late June, the McKinney Police Department formed a community services unit to assist with crisis response, mental health, special needs and homelessness, Chief Greg Conley said in a previous email. The unit will connect people with social service providers as needed.
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By Cassidy Ritter

Cassidy graduated from the University of Kansas in 2016 with a degree in Journalism and a double minor in business and global studies. She has worked as a reporter and editor for publications in Kansas, Colorado and Australia. She was hired as senior reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's Plano edition in August 2016. Less than a year later, she took the role of editor for the McKinney edition.


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