“We Must Keep the Momentum Going”: Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Fight to End Chronic Homelessness in Houston

“Before I leave office, I want Houston to be the first big city to end chronic homelessness,” shared Mayor Sylvester Turner in an interview with . Since 2011, Houston — America’s fourth most populous city — has housed more than facing homelessness and seen rates of homelessness fall by more than .

Houston is a national success story, as :

“Even judging by the more modest metrics registered in a 2020 federal report, Houston did more than twice as well as the rest of the country at reducing homelessness over the previous decade.”

And Mayor Turner isn’t done yet.

In 2020, the city helped launch a new housing program — the Community COVID Housing Program (CCHP) — alongside Harris County and the Houston Coalition for the Homeless. With funds from the American Rescue Plan, their collaboration aimed to help 5,000 people in the area get housing or keep their housing, and they’ve surpassed that original goal: .

is one of those 8,000+ who was helped through the program. He was homeless for seven years after losing his job and being evicted from his apartment. In 2020, CCHP started reaching out to him, and he eventually moved into an apartment provided by the program. With an apartment to call his own and the assistance of his CCHP caseworker, he was able to start a new job and get back on his feet.

How does the CCHP program work? There are two major components. The first is the program. It provides apartments and other properties for chronically homeless people. The second is the program, which provides rental assistance and a caseworker to help people keep a roof over their heads while they get back on their feet.

“In Phase 1, we not only met our goal, but we also beat it and did so in record time,” . Now, in phase 2, the city of Houston is contributing more funds to keep the CCHP going and .

And during his State of the City Address last fall, Mayor Turner designed “to help individuals experiencing homelessness embark on the path to being housed.” The pilot program, called , offers dinner service at a safe, clean location and is designed to attract individuals who may not normally engage with the homeless housing system. Other services, including housing assessments, are also provided.

“Houston is on the right path, but we must all do more. The Dinner to Home program pairs perfectly with all the comprehensive, holistic initiatives the city is currently working on to help our brothers and sister experiencing homelessness, including the largest homeless housing initiative in our city’s history, the opening of the first Housing Navigation Center in the entire state, and endeavors with the private sector to secure more supportive housing units.”

With legacy programs like these, Mayor Turner’s commitment to ending chronic homelessness in Houston will carry on for years to come.

“We are not resting on our laurels. Together, we will do more, and we must keep the momentum going,” . “Together, we can strategically utilize COVID-19-related funding to turn the crisis of the pandemic into an opportunity to reduce homelessness further and save lives.”



The United States Conference of Mayors is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.

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United States Conference of Mayors

The United States Conference of Mayors. Official non-partisan organization of cities 30,000 in population and larger, each represented by their mayor.