AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Thanks to a public-private partnership between the City of Amarillo, area churches, and local businesses, a new non-profit aimed at housing people without homes or shelter is getting its start.
The City of Amarillo’s Director of Community Development, Jason Riddlespurger, said at the last winter point in time count, there were 539 people without homes in Amarillo and 368 without shelter.
“That’s way too many. That’s people that are that are living on the streets, not living in places that they should have to lay their head. So we want to come up with the solution and make this better for them and better for our community,” Riddlespurger said.
Thanks to American Rescue Plan Act funding from the City, a million-dollar gift from Joe and Laura Street, and $500,000 from Hillside Christian Church, Transformation Park will help fill the gap.
“I’m just really proud of the private businesses coming together with the City of Amarillo and area churches to do something that’s gonna make a lot of difference in people’s lives,” said Joe Street, president of Street Toyota.
Tommy Politz, a pastor at Hillside and the chair of the Transformation Park board, said, “I just see it as a privilege that we get to do this as a community serving people we love because the homeless are our community. They’re not some add-on and I think sometimes people forget that, That they are our community, and we are their community.”
Transformation Park will contain a safe space for people without homes or shelter.
“It’s an actual drop-in shelter, where folks can just go it’s very low barrier,” said Riddlespurger. “They can stay there for sleep in the daytime, sleep at the nighttime, stay there for three days, whatever you need…”
It will also have a cabin community full of pallet homes as well as a day room. The Guyon Saunders Resource Center will be moving there, too.
“We’re working with them to transition them into actual permanent housing, because it’s difficult to go from homelessness into permanent housing,” Riddlespurger continued. “We’ve seen people that struggle mightily with that and we don’t want that. We want them to be successful.”
Another company, which is anonymous for now, has agreed to furnish a commercial kitchen and provide meals indefinitely for people at Transformation Park.