As families that never dreamed of homelessness live on the edge this holiday, Irving launches a new cooperative effort with churches and the school district to help put a roof over their heads.
Alvin and Kati Long and their three children moved into a new apartment Saturday, paid for by the Irving Rapid Re-Housing Program.
“It’s very humbling to go from having everything to having nothing,” Alvin Long said.
His fencing business dried up in the past year and his wife lost her oil and gas job.
“They just laid off, a lot of the oil and gas companies, when the price of gas started to drop,” Kati Long said.
Then Alvin Long’s mother passed away, and the family lost their house.
“We basically gave everything we had to taking care of my mother,” said Alvin Long.
For most of the past month, the family lived at an Irving church. They visited other people’s homes to shower.
But the Irving Independent School District was a supporter as the family moved from one temporary place to another.
“They’ve let our kids stay at their schools and not been interrupted,” Kati Long said.
Irving ISD Board Member A.D. Jenkins is helping to organize a community effort to help a growing homeless population.
“If we expect the kids to come to school ready to learn and ready to participate, then that’s a concern of ours,” Jenkins said. “That’s where we can be involved and be a part of the solution.”
Jenkins is also a founder of an Irving youth organization. He has been involved in other social service programs before, but says this new approach is required to combat homelessness.
“It’s not a quick fix,” Jenkins said. “This is something that this time next year we’re going to be dealing with.”
Alvin Long said the support has put his family on the road to recovery.
“From where we've been to where we are now, is a blessing,” he said.