Denison officials propose resolution to homeless situation in town

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DENISON, Tex. (KXII) - A group assisting Denison's homeless people known as Homeless Empowerment Action Team or HEAT, want to buy some property a few blocks from downtown Denison.

The goal of building a place for homeless people in town to have a one stop shop to have food, get a shower, and ultimately, get some help to get back on their feet.

Brett Barrett is homeless, right now he tries to stay wherever he can.

"Try to stay out of sight because it's just easier that way. So I live in the woods," said Barrett.

Micah Blevins is a representative with HEAT, and works at Waples United Methodist Church.

She says the ideal location is on East Main Street, because of the potential space, and proximity for the dozens of homeless people the church helps every week.

"We see 10-15 people every day of the week. They come in asking do we have food pantry, do we help with finding a washing machine or a dryer," said Blevins.

Denison city manager Jud Rex says they city's resolution is to handle the issue at hand.

"Point one is we want to reduce, not grow the problem and take simple steps to move in that direction. We don't want to be a magnet for homelessness in Denison. As a community we want to address the issue that's here, not attract more of it," said Rex.

Blevins says the potential facility she has in mind would include a dining hall, showers, and a place where representatives from HEAT can help the homeless people in town, like Barrett, can get back to work.

"I don't want anyone to feel like they're forgotten, or they don't matter. Because there is a problem and I see the problem, and I know the people. Just because they're homeless doesn't mean they don't count," said Blevins.

"If you don't have a place to congregate where help can be brought in, then everyone is willy-nilly. They're under viaducts, out in abandoned houses, and it would keep it a little safer for them too," said Barrett.

"We want to take care of them as we would any of our other residents, but at the same time, have the same expectations as we would other people in Denison," said Rex.