Tackling Lincoln's homeless problem - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Tackling Lincoln's homeless problem

The Lincoln Homeless Coalition has called in some national help. A non–profit organization called "The National Alliance To End Homelessness" is helping Lincoln better serve families. The National Alliance chose only two cities to evaluate and help. One was a city in Virginia, the other was Lincoln.

Elizabeth Vasquez is homeless, and like the nearly one thousand others in Lincoln, so are her 2 children. "I've been here a week, didn't have nothing I have 2 babies, so they've helped give me a place to stay," Vasquez said.

Thanks to the People's City Mission, Vasquez and her babies have a home...for now. But the Lincoln Homeless Coalition says there are many families who don't.  Many who are struggling to find jobs and a permanent place for their families to live.

"Over a 2 year period recently we've had nearly 5 thousand individuals identified as homeless. Out of those 20 percent are children or youth under the age of 18.," Andrea Mason of the Lincoln Homeless Coalition said.

To help fill that gap the coalition called in some help. After applying, the "National Alliance to End Homelessness" chose to come to Lincoln to assess some of the issues facing our homeless. They gave input on what Lincoln is doing well and what we need work on. They say very few are actually out on the street, we're engaging police with outreach efforts and we're connecting people with food stamps. However, they say we need help in transitioning people to permanent housing and in rethinking how we spend government funds.

"Although we need emergency shelters and transitional housing that's vital to our community we want to try whenever we can to keep people in their house, people from losing their housing," Mason said.

The Lincoln Homeless Coalition has already taken their advice. They're reaching out to more private businesses, landlords, and youth services to help get Lincoln families the resources they need, faster. The National Alliance has been in Lincoln several times to help formulate a plan. Their services are being paid for through a local grant.

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