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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Nonprofit fights homelessness in Hays County

Madeline Carpenter

As homelessness increases across the county, a network of organizations work to support the Hays County homeless population.

As a recently founded non-profit organization, the Hays County Homelessness Coalition works to educate and address homelessness across the county.

“The Hays County Homeless Coalition is a network of organizations that work to provide support to the homeless community of San Marcos,” Nancy Heintz, the co-coordinator for the annual homelessness count, said.

The annual homeless count is a random draw of the public that assesses the number of homeless people on a given night within Hays County. It functions as the primary identification for the amount of homeless people in Hays County within a given year.

According to the annual homelessness count, numbers are increasing as the years go by. From 2020-22, the number of homeless people in Hays County increased by 34%. Heintz predicts the numbers will continue to increase in 2024.

Heintz said results for the annual homeless count conducted on Jan. 25 will likely be released next March.

One of the primary missions of the coalition is to “unite people to find and close housing and supporting service gaps in our Hays County communities through communication, cooperation, coordination and collaboration,” the Homeless Coalition of Hays County Bylaws stated.

According to Heintz, there are 26 agencies within the Homeless Coalition of Hays County that provide volunteer-oriented support to the homeless population of Hays County.

“Our goal is to learn as much as we can about Hays County homelessness and to support the people,” Kaimi Maltila, a board member of the Hays County Homeless Coalition, said.

Some of the organizations supporting the homeless population are Hays-Caldwell Women’s Shelter, H.O.M.E, San Marcos Housing Authority and Bobcat Bounty.

Hays-Caldwell Women’s Shelter is currently the county’s active emergency shelter. In 2023, they served 2,054 victims of abuse, and 11,316 community members.

Southside Community Center is open on a first-come first-serve basis as a shelter for bad weather conditions. According to its website, Southside Community Center supports the homeless population by helping them find resources for proper medical care, food and shelter. The homeless population at Texas State has access to various resources such as the Southside Community Center, the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Shelter and more.

In addition to what the coalition offers, Texas State has a university-run student-led food pantry called Bobcat Bounty. It is a resource that aims to decrease food insecurity by providing healthy food to students. Most of the Bobcat Bounty food comes from the Hays County Food Bank.

For more information, visit the Hays County Homeless Coalition Facebook page.

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