Poverty rates and homelessness hit record highs

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

GRAYSON COUNTY, TX-The holidays may not be so merry for hundreds of people right here in Texoma. In fact, a new study shows 131,000 Texas children are homeless and poverty is hitting record highs in across the U.S. Victoria Maranan shows us how some people's greatest wish this year is to have a home for the holidays.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in 2 Americans are considered to be living in poverty. In fact, the Grayson County Shelter is completely full and record numbers of people are asking for help from area charities. We hear how two Texomans fell on hard times and why it's happening more often.

"I never once even thought that if was even possible of happening, but I found the misfortunes come in every body's life."

James Beasley stayed in the Grayson County Shelter for 70 days after medical bills dried up his savings. He said he was shocked to see so many people, like himself, come through the doors looking for a place to stay.

"There's so many walks of life that enter through the shelter here that it's a whole new world, but it has come together and it shows us that we are truly vulnerable to anything that may happen," he said.

Case worker Michelle Holcomb said there's been an increase in homelessness in Grayson county, likely because of the down economy and unemployment.
For some people, like Kelly Oden, all it takes is an unexpected health problem or accident.

"I got into a major car accident and then I actually had to take some time off work and I lost some pay. And so, I just kind of have to restart my life," she said.

Oden said it's heartbreaking to know that there are other people like her out there, without a roof over their heads.

"It really touches my heart and it makes me really sad when I think about. I heard there are 60 people under the viaduct here in Denison."

Maj. Don Wildish with the Grayson County Salvation Army said their agency has been overwhelmed with a record number of families asking for food and other necessities this holiday season.

"We had over 700 families sign up this year and here in Grayson county, we've never had that number of people that have come," he said.

Wildish said despite reports of unemployment going down, people are still unable to make ends meet.

"The truth of it is there's still a lot of people who are under employed, who just simply cannot pay for the needs that they have in their family," he said.

There are still over a hundred kids needing to be adopted from the Salvation Army Angel tree and hundreds more in need of toys by this weekend.
If you'd like to help, you can drop off donations at the Salvation Army Christmas Center at Midway Mall in Sherman starting Friday, Dec. 16 to Sunday, Dec. 18.


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  • by Bonham Location: Bonham on Jan 8, 2012 at 07:15 PM
    I think for people to get welfare or other assistance they should speak ENGLISH only. I makes me upset that I am Enghlish speaking and eating Ramen noodles and the person in line in front of me does not and is getting steak speaking another lang. with 10 kids. Plus you think there is a lot of poverty now just wait if we get a Republican president if you are not one of their rich cronnies we will all be living under the viaduct
  • by Anonymous on Dec 21, 2011 at 07:23 AM
    Although there are people in Denison who's electric bill, car payment, and recreation allotment would pay rent for some of these "legitimate" homeless, I still am opposed to any group (gov't) taking from or forceing someone else to provide resources for them. To many young girls have 2 kids and their sperm donor buys beer or dope ahead of their welfare. Marriage and family are no longer considered the backbone of society. People don't seek work, they seek benefits with as little effort as possible. There are many who say they are unable to work! Doctors enable them to support their claim. They could if they had to. Welfare and other aid has created a bunch of lazy bums. Many people don't want to work! They just want more money! The key words from people applying for jobs are "I can't"! Then they go get their financial aid. Reality is they won't.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 20, 2011 at 04:16 AM
    Ignorance is bliss...
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 20, 2011 at 01:02 PM in reply to
      You must be really happy.
  • by Willie on Dec 19, 2011 at 03:05 PM
    And these are the people who the Republicans say need to pay more taxes. These are the ones who they say pay no taxes (Other than payroll taxes). They fight tooth & nail against a 3 cents on a dollar increase for earnings over a million $. Not an increase for their earnings UP TO a million. Just for any ammount OVER. If the GOP is allowed to win more seats in the Senate or if a Republican is elected President. The middle class will no longer exist. The same with education and improvements to the infrastructure of the country. Cut back to 3rd world levels. We haven't even scratched the surface of the depths of poverty we will see if Republicans get their way.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 22, 2011 at 04:54 AM in reply to Willie
      Robin Hood is a fairy tale. It should remain that way. If the middle class is created by taking rather than giving, no political party is worth keeping. Education and infrastructure will improve by the will of the people not politicians taking from anyone. People and gov't should not borrow into poverty. Live within your means. Debt kills. Investors get rich on interest. Do without, don't borrow!
  • by Mork Location: Ork on Dec 18, 2011 at 12:40 PM
    There are 60 people living under the Viaduct in Denison? Really?
  • by Taxpayer on Dec 17, 2011 at 11:22 PM
    "poverty is hitting record highs across the U.S." and yet the Denison City Council has just approved a "minimum standards" policy where those same poverty stircken folks will be forced to spend money they do not have in an effort to raise their property values so that City of Denison can collect more taxes. We're already being forced to pay for the unneeded new school...
  • by Daniel on Dec 17, 2011 at 02:27 PM
    It takes more then 3 years to fix something that's been broken for almost 30 years. The POTUS can't just wave his hands and fix this, the idiots in the senate and house have just as much to do with it as he does.
  • by jw Location: texas on Dec 16, 2011 at 11:33 PM
    yes this is really a sad thing to have happen. now this point,how on earth are the people of DENISON going to pay more on taxes next year when that 80 million dollar bond comes!!!! if you are not at the shelter now you could be at any time. all it takes is one thing little or big and you are homeless. now why doesnt some of the builders or people who rent their property that has a large building let the shelter rent it for a low price or just donate it and take a tax break? they really do need a larger place and the shelters store is in a big bind for space.it is hard to get in and out of the parking lot, even harder for people in wheel chairs cause there is not handicap way. the drive is very hard to get in and out. this little shop uses the money they make to help the shelter to pay for stuff. sorry this is so long but any body that hasnt been in there should go they have alot of nice stuff and it is not priced high. it is in the best shape as far as being clean and nice as it has ever been. the new manager really got it together. please if any one could help they would be happy. and no i dont work there i love to shop there/
  • by sick of it Location: tx on Dec 16, 2011 at 03:00 PM
    I think that everyone needs to look at who is getting hired around here and who gets most of the government help. It is not the Texans thats for sure, if you cant speak english and you are not here legally you and your kids are promised to be taken care to the fullest. That takes aways from the families that are born and raised here so we are the ones who are left homeless.
    • reply
      by Fozzy on Dec 18, 2011 at 08:28 AM in reply to sick of it
      Straman much? I keep seeing the lines wrapped around buildings for all the freebies handed out this time of year by well meaning suckers... these human scavengers sure seem predominately anglo to me..
  • by Okie Location: Texas on Dec 16, 2011 at 09:25 AM
    Wouldn't think there would be any POVERTY in TX. Just drive thru the CASINO parking lots and see how many vehicles that have TX License Plates on them. Adults make the choice, CHILDREN don't.
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