Unsheltered Homeless Alert

Grand Prairie Homeless Outreach

Due to the drop in temperatures with expected lows in the ’20s over the next few days, a new non-profit group here in Grand Prairie called Grand Prairie Homeless Outreach Organization (GPHOO) that is looking to help unsheltered homeless urgently find a warm place to stay over the next few days. The term unsheltered and unhoused refer to that segment of a homeless community who do not have ordinary lawful access to buildings in which to sleep; the latter term is defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as describing persons occupying “place not designed for … sleeping accommodation for human beings”.

If you know someone who currently fits the definition of an “Unsheltered Homeless Person” please call GPHOO at 214-212-7958 so they can get the help they deserve. This number is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

In a recent Facebook post here is what their most important needs are.

This is an important post. Please read it. It’s about the upcoming dangerously cold weather and our efforts to provide a warm, dry place for Grand Prairie’s homeless population.

Here’s just one example of who we are trying to help…

Ms. M. has lived in Grand Prairie all of her 61 years. She loves Grand Prairie and wants to stay here.

Her disability pay of $771 isn’t enough to cover her motel room fee. It’s $300 a week for a room with no kitchen. She has all of her belongings in a UHaul storage place where she pays $55 a month. She has a $60 a month cell phone bill. It’s not an Obama phone (free phone if you are on food stamps). It’s better than that because she uses her phone to earn money so she has to have better data plan.

She’s mobility challenged and has diabetes and has to pay for medications. She wants to work, but can’t find a job she can do to which she can walk. She has found a way to supplement her income by playing online games on her phone which pays out in $100 increments to her PayPal account.

She works hard on Word Find and Word Scramble games hoping she’ll reach that $100 payout to pay for a room one night and part of a room the next night. Then there’s the issue of food. She skips meals to pay the motel fee.

Yesterday morning (Saturday, November 9th), after playing online games till her mind was numb, she was still $34.55 shy of a payout (see photo) and couldn’t make her motel fee. She had to vacate the room at 11 am. She spent the day at Taco Bell on Main playing some more and preparing herself to spend the night on the back side of the motel as she so often does.

We paid for a room last night to try to find shelter to no avail. Today she asked for a tent and sleeping bag. Thanks to donations we have that for her.

Still, we’re worried about the cold temperatures tomorrow and Tuesday night. It’s supposed to get the 20s.

We have $700 in our motel room budget for Grand Prairie’s homeless. We just learned that First United Methodist will match that so now we have $1,400 for rooms. We have 74 unsheltered homeless in Grand Prairie. Today we fed 21 of our homeless citizens.

We need more funds to provide rooms for tomorrow night and Tuesday night.

Honestly, from a logistical standpoint, we can’t really handle placing everyone in motel rooms for the next two nights. So we are going to try to place our level 1-3 homeless in rooms. That means homeless who are living in underpasses, in bushes, and in other locations not meant for human habitation. Of those we have 15 people we are trying to put into motel rooms the next two nights.

All of the shelters in Dallas and Fort Worth are constantly full. You may have seen the recent news stories about the different efforts in Dallas to provide spaces for the unsheltered homeless to be warm and dry during the upcoming dangerous temperatures.

Due to unprecedented coordinated efforts the City of Dallas is stepping up to provide such a shelter for the 4,000 homeless in Dallas by opening up the Kay Bailey Hutchison convention center for the next two nights. We’ve evaluated the possibility of taking our homeless to the Dallas Convention Center, but after checking with one of the organizers of that effort we have been advised it is probably better to try to take care of Grand Prairie’s homeless here in our community.

Grand Prairie does not have a homeless shelter. We’re not sure a shelter is the best plan for our community. We do know housing is the answer to homelessness. We are working on the housing issue and we’ll need community support. You’ll be hearing more about that in the future.

In the meantime, we are working with the City of Grand Prairie and the Clergy Coalition to try to find a church that will open its doors. We all believe that the churches are called to this work. Absent that, we’ll be providing as many rooms as we can.

If you would like to donate to this effort, please send a message to us with the amount so we can plan.

While we are a recently registered (with the Secretary of State) nonprofit and we have Tax ID number, but we don’t yet have our 501 (C)(3) tax exempt designation. We will have that soon. We can receive donations and we can issue receipts.

If you would like to send a check, send to:

Grand Prairie Homeless Outreach Organization
727 Hill St., #C
Grand Prairie, TX 75050

We are not able to receive donations of clothing. As needed, we will post specific sizes of things that we need.

When we provide rooms we also provide at least one meal while they are shut in. We can use help with that effort too.

We have many sincere “Thank You’s” and stories to tell and we will do so in future posts. For now, we just had to focus on extreme cold coming up for now. If you know someone in need of help please call 214-212-7958 24/7.

With no disrespect meant, it’s taken a while to “wake up” Grand Prairie about the fact that there are homeless in the city. They are hard to distinguish. Many work at jobs, and many are disabled and can’t work, but try to work anyway. Many have untreated mental illness and many have addiction issues. Still, they are human beings – mothers, brothers, sons and daughters – created in the image of God and they need help. We hope you are “woke up” and will help us to help them.