Outreach program bringing those in need to Brownsville shelter

4 months 20 hours 46 minutes ago Tuesday, January 31 2023 Jan 31, 2023 January 31, 2023 6:40 PM January 31, 2023 in News - Local

The Good Neighbor Settlement House is working overtime to help bring people in need of a warm place to stay during the cold weather.

Members of the organization's Street Outreach Program are driving around Brownsville, hoping to convince anyone they see living on the streets to go to their facility.

The outreach usually occurs on Mondays and Wednesdays, but because of the cold weather, they went out on Tuesday.

Among those the program reached was Juan Manuel Jasso, who has been living on the streets for more than a year. Despite the cold weather, Jasso said he will be sleeping in his 'usual spot.'

"By the pawn shop right here, in front of International (Boulevard). I stay right there," Jasso said.

The Good Neighbor Settlement House said it isn't easy convincing people to seek shelter, which is why they had blankets, hand warmers and a hot meal to pass out.

"A lot of them are used to hanging around here. And they already have their little groups that they hang with each other, so they do go maybe for breakfast, but then they head back the same day," Alejandra Mederos — the organization's client services coordinator — said.

Belinda Brandford, the shelter's assistant director, said the Street Outreach Program was able to help more than 3,200 people in 2022. Their efforts don't stop when the cold weather moves out.

"It's been pretty prevalent. The growing homelessness in our Valley, and it's like ok and a lot of has to do with inflation and higher cost of rent," Brandford said. 

Brandford said it's an everyday mission.

The Good Neighbor Settlement House is asking for donations, whether it's clothes, hand warmers or blankets.

Items can be dropped off in person or donated online.

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