KILLEEN, Texas (FOX 44) – The City of Killeen has partnered with the City of Temple to hire a consultant to help appropriately address homelessness in Bell County.

The City of Killeen says this comes as part of a months-long process, and part of the Homeless and Mental Strategic Plan. Dr. Robert Marbut, Jr. has gathered statistics on those experiencing homelessness in Bell County, and has also led focus groups and invited agencies from all over the county to participate – including faith-based groups, service industries, first responders and school districts.

Marbut conducted surveys to gather data on demographics, as well as completed site visits and tours with agencies and stakeholders – including free health clinics. Marbut recently observed facilities which support individuals experiencing homelessness – including The Bridge in Dallas, Haven for Hope in San Antonio, Community First Village in Austin and Centex ARC (Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center) in Temple.

Marbut presented his initial findings to the Killeen City Council on September 6 – addressing the five strategic keys to successfully manage and reduce homelessness: understanding the exact problems, addressing the root causes/triggers, making big changes, improving service delivery, and ‘engaging’ vs. ‘enabling’.

Marbut also presented key data observations – including duration, gender trends, pre and post-employment numbers, homeless veteran rates and home-grown metrics.

The City of Killeen says the consultant is studying five cohorts of homeless groups in Bell County – including those in encampments, men, women, families and individuals at risk of homelessness.

A final plan is due to be completed and presented to the public and council by the end of this year.

Dr. Marbut’s presentation to City Council on September 6 can be viewed here.