Poverty rates and homelessness hit record highs

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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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