Today we’d like to introduce you to Pastor Parris Patrick.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Pastor Parris. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
After attending a School board meeting and hearing about the homeless youth population in Alief, I wanted to do something about it. Shortly after I started Alief Coalition for the Homeless, to assist Alief with the needs of its homeless youth attending school here. I also Pastor Agape Community Bible Church
Currently, we have a network of over 100 volunteers and plans to build a youth homeless shelter in the Alief Area, we already have land donated.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has not been smooth. The hardest part of what we do is educating community members on the issues surrounding homeless youth… i.e. how many there are, what they have to do to survive, their needs…. every school in Alief has homeless children in its attendance and have a goal to partner every Alief school with a church or other organization to help the school, help the kids. But by far, our hardest activity has been raising money to build the shelter on the property that has been donated to us.
Alief Coalition for the Homeless – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The Alief Coalition for the Homeless is a faith-based non-profit 501c3 with a goal of forming a collaborative network of churches, non-profit organizations (both religious and non-religious), businesses and concerned community members who, in partnership with Alief Independent School District, plan to bring an end to youth homelessness within the district by creating and providing community based solutions.
There are just over 1600 homeless children that attend Alief ISD schools, of that number there are 45 documented youth that are considered unaccompanied minors having neither mother, father or any other legal guardian directly caring for them. All of these children need healthcare, afterschool care, tutoring help, and adult mentorship.
Additionally, those that are considered unaccompanied minors need a safe place to live away from gang life and sex trade life which is a common fate for unaccompanied homeless youth in Alief. There are also an unknown number of homeless youth in Alief who are not self-reporting for various reasons such as embarrassment, fear of siblings being separated, and anxiety over being removed from the safety of their community.
It is the goal of the Coalition to encourage self-reporting, to provide a local shelter in Alief for the unaccompanied homeless minors, and to provide assistance and basic services such as tutoring, mentoring, after-school meals and other social services for all reported school age children who are experiencing homelessness as defined by McKinney-Vento.
What I am most proud of is that Alief has proven, and it proving more and more every day that we are a community that cares for each other, once people find out what the needs are of any of the children it always impresses me the way we spring into action to meet the need.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
For me as the Founder and Exec. Director of Alief Coalition for the Homeless, my proudest moment was when we were donated the property to build the shelter. I’m still on cloud 9 from that!
- Address: 12320 Beechnut St., Houston, TX 77072
(currently our offices are in Agape Community Bible Church)
- Phone: 281-631-5212
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Aliefcfh/