Homelessness: Big Problem in Evansville - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Homelessness: Big Problem in Evansville

Reporter: Liza Danver

Web Producer: Jill Middleton

UPDATE, FRI, 8:40 PM: There's big problems in Vanderburgh County and right now, there isn't any solution. 

Vanderburgh County has the highest per-capita rate of homelessness in the state. Entire families have no where to go. So, some are living among prostitutes and drug addicts.  

Dozens of Evansville families call low cost motels home.

Vanderburgh County Commissioner Tom Shetler says there's quite a few families in motels that are homeless.

John McPherson, his wife, and three-year-old daughter have been living in a small room for two months.

McPherson says, "We got evicted from our apartment, and we can't find any houses right now. They're too expensive for our budget."

He says it's almost impossible for them to save for the necessary deposit on an apartment.

Since only a microwave and hot plate make up his motel room's kitchen, the extra cash goes to fast food.

In addition to motel life not being stable for kids, police say prostitution and drugs are also prevalent in the North Fares motels, and parents say that's an element they don't want to expose their children to.

There are support systems in place. They are designed to help homeless families like the McPherson's, but since Vanderburgh County has so many homeless people, the shelters and government programs are already operating above capacity. They aren't able to help anyone else.

McPherson says that leaves his family stuck.

Luzada Hayes of a program called Destination Home says, "If you're not able to afford monthy rent, and there aren't enough public housing, if the shelters are full. The low cost motels are the affordable housing that people are finding."

Hayes says the solution to homelessness is bringing in more affordable housing and government funded programs. A new 10-year plan, still in its infancy stages, called "Destination Home" hopes to do that. So families no longer have to call motel room home.

Destination Home hopes to end homelessness in Vanderburgh County by 2014.

Local leaders say the goal will only be met if the project is successful in obtaining necessary government funding and community support.

Previously: Cheap motels rooms are becoming makeshift apartments for some homeless families in Evansville. 

Local leaders say government funded services designed to help the homeless are operating at or above capacity. That leaves many families struggling, with nowhere to turn.  

Homelessness is a big problem in Evansville. According to the last census, Vanderburgh County had the highest per-capita rate of homeless people in the state.

On North Fares, homeless parents tell 14 News dozens of families live in the low cost motels because they can't get enough money together at once to put down a deposit on an apartment.

Local leaders say the underlying problem is not enough affordable housing in Evansville.

Every day, more families are forced into homelessness. That is why government funded programs and shelters designed to help the homeless are running dry.

Luzada Hayes of Destination Home says, "If you're not able to afford monthly rent and there aren't enough public housing, if the shelters are full, the low cost motels are the affordable housing that people are finding."

Coming up tonight on 14 News at 10:00, we'll hear from a homeless family that's living in one of the motels on North Fares.

They speak about their first-hand experiences with the lack of affordable housing in Vanderburgh County.

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