Recent events in Killeen have shone a spotlight on the city's homelessness problem, and while that problem is far from being solved, there seems to be a ray of hope.

Brandon Hamilton with our partners at News 10 reports that the board of the Friends in Crisis homeless shelter met Monday and approved a motion to reopen the shelter on or before August 9. Their plan depends on securing sufficient funding from the City of Killeen and local organizations. They're reportedly committed to beginning the process of preparing the shelter for reopening by July 15.

The Killeen Daily Herald reports that residents of a tent city that formed on the lawn of the shelter shortly after it closed on May 18 have received assistance from MHMR and Heritage House of Central Texas. Those occupying the tents (around 20 homeless men and women) will be required to vacate the premises while the shelter is cleaned and sanitized, and Killeen police say they'll arrest anyone caught sleeping in unauthorized areas.

The Herald reports that the shelter will reopen with just over three months worth of operating costs. Fundraising efforts continue, including a GoFundMe account created to raise money for the shelter.

Phyllis Jones, host of Kiss Community Connections, has spoken to residents of the tent city about their situation and the unique challenges they face.

I know I'm not alone when I say that I sincerely hope the shelter can reopen and continue to help those who've found themselves in a situation anyone can land in.

I've experienced homelessness, and while I was beyond fortunate to have a job and a car in which to get to it (and sleep), many are not so lucky and need a helping hand. I was eventually taken in by relatives, and thanks to their generosity I was able to save up for a place to live and restore stability to my life. Like I said, not everyone is so fortunate. I didn't have a drug problem or criminal issues, nor was I in crippling debt. Life just happened and I found myself in a scary place in which many get trapped. It took a lot of work, patience, and generosity from good people to get out of it.

Let's hope that the shelter is able to keep its doors open long-term. The work they do could save lives. I know that for a fact.

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