El Paso

Opportunity Center helps homeless, including veterans, as first freeze looms

Opportunity Center helps homeless including veterans as first freeze looms

The homeless, including some veterans, are seeking shelter as the Borderland is expecting its first freeze of the year, with temperatures dipping to the mid 20s late Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

The Opportunity Center for the Homeless told ABC-7 it has already experienced an increase in people seeking shelter.

John Martin, the deputy director of the Opportunity Center, told ABC-7, "What happens during this time of year, is the temperatures start to dip even lower and lower and you'll start to see our number increase." He adds, "We've already seen an increase of the women from the temperatures last night, so they went from 40 to 55. Here (on the men's side) we had a small increase from about 80 to 94."

Martin expects an increase of about 120 men and 60 women Monday night. Martins told ABC-7 based on last years numbers, about 15-20% of the homeless that come into the OC are veterans.

The OC works with a veteran program that allows homeless veterans to stay at the Veteran Transitional Living Center for a longer period of time.

A social worker will come into homeless shelters and conduct an interview with a veteran to see if they qualify depending on their discharge.

Once the veteran is approved, they will be assigned their own room at VTLC, where they will work with the Veterans Affairs to gather all the paperwork they need to transition into a better life.

The average stay at the VTLC is about 4-6 months until the veteran transitions into permanent housing through the Housing Urban Development Veterans Administrations Subsidized Housing (HUDVASH) program. 

If you'd like to help out, here is a list of shelters in the region:

Opportunity Center

Rescue Mission of El Paso

Annunciation House

Salvation Army

Villa Maria

La Posada Home

Dame la Mano

El Paso Coalition for the Homeless









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