HUD official visits on tour of Fresno's homeless shelters

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- On any given night, over half a million people are homeless in the US - according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A high-ranking HUD official came to the Valley to see what Fresno is doing to deal with its homeless issue.

The idea wasn't for the city to put its best face forward but perhaps its most dignified.

HUD Pacific Regional Administrator Chris Patterson visited to look over shelters and transitional housing for the homeless. He listened intently to hear how the Turning Point Welcome Center takes in the homeless.

Turning Point Regional Director Jody Ketcheside explained, "We have 31 beds in the building."

It is a place where the homeless can come in off the streets.

Here their basic needs can be taken care of for up to 90 days as they transition to a new life.

Patterson told local leaders who were part of the tour, "With HUD this is exactly what we want to see."

Patterson was impressed with the facility, calling homelessness the biggest topic in the US right now. He said, "They want to be treated like they have dignity and humility. Their kids are valuable. They are the future so we want to make sure we do everything we can to support them."

Patterson's region covers four western states and the Valley is eager to land its share of HUD federal funds.

Ketcheside said, "It always seems with homelessness, there's some funds but not necessarily to operate full programs so it's nice to see people getting interested and getting in it with us."

Ketcheside said another facility with 37 more beds will soon open but even that barely scratches the surface of the issue.

The Valley's homeless problem has continued to grow so local leaders will seek more funding through HUD Opportunity Zones and Community Block Development grants.
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