Homeless Family Struggling for Better Life in Valley

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PHARR - A government report points out a decrease in homelessness nationwide.

Many people are coming to the Rio Grande Valley from other states and larger Texas cities.

In between the trees, through the tarps and behind a grocery cart some people construct their homes. They are hidden in vacant fields and some under the expressway and on the corners asking for money. Some want a better life. 

"This is not for me man. It’s not. This is not. Either I want to work I want to do something,” said Gerardo Rico, homeless in Hidalgo County.

Jessie Cutgrass and Gerardo Rico are from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They are homeless and live under the expressway.

"I'm not trying to be sleeping under there tonight and for the remaining time; I’m going to be here. I'm not trying to sleep under there. We haven't slept because it's pretty noisy under that bridge, cars always passing there and it's really cold,” said Rico.

They came to the Valley four months ago to start a new life.

"We came here because we thought we start a new life because it's cheaper living down here, but the way it looks it's pretty hard,” said Rico. 

Rico said family issues and not being able to find a job caused to find ways to go back to South Dakota.

"Her kids were going to get set back down here with her and it just turned out we went downhill,” said Cutgrass and Rico.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development report found 553,742 people experienced homelessness on a single night in 2017. Officials say many parts of the country are seeing a decrease.

"There's a lot of homeless out here. There is a lot they are hiding,” said Cutgrass and Rico.

Rico explained many homeless in the Valley are from larger cities.

“There's some from Houston, Dallas; I met some guy from Corpus. There’s some from up north coming down here,” said Rico.

Rico and Cutgrass said they want more resources and compassion from others.

"For us to get jobs and not for us to be down here. Where we're at right now, homeless? We want to come up. Some of us do want to come up. We just need more help,” said Rico.

They said their main mission is to go back to the north and try again.

The Hidalgo County Urban County Program counts the amount of homeless every January. This year they counted more than 400 people.

They sent CHANNEL 5 NEWS statistics from this year. The graph is below: 

Number of Surveys Recorded 349
Number of Adults in Households/Families 356
Number of Children In Households/Families 68
Total Number of People 424

McAllen 98
Edinburg 33
Mission 10
Weslaco 17
Donna 7
Alamo 6
Pharr 6
Out of State 32
Other TX Cities 66

The Hidalgo County Urban County Program told us Hidalgo County is the seventh poorest county in the State of Texas. 


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