As Amarillo has continued to grow over the years, so have some of the issues that face our residents. The COVID-19 pandemic was extremely tough on a lot of people. Many lost their jobs, then could no longer afford things such as car payments, phone bills, and worst of all, a roof over their head.

That was the beginning of what has become more of a glaring issue for Amarillo as a whole. Homelessness.

Over the last couple of years, we've seen an increase in panhandling within the city. Some people are simply out of work, but many of those people don't have a place to call home.

Now, they will soon have a place they can go to while they try to get back on their feet.

Amarillo will officially break ground on Transformation Park today near SW 4th Ave./SW 5th Ave. and Parker Street. According to the Transformation Park website, Amarillo leads the state in the number of homeless people per capita, and by a large margin. There are 30 homeless people per 10,000 people in the city.

When you break that down by 200,000 residents, the current rough population of Amarillo, that means we have a staggering 600 homeless people within city limits. That's more than three times the state average.

Transformation Park is a collaborative effort between the city, churches, and businesses in Amarillo to provide a place where the homeless community can gather, have their basic needs met, and provide them with guidance and offer help however they can so they can get back on their feet.

Yes, the mission is to try and get people off the streets for a myriad of reasons. Everyone in Amarillo would like to see homelessness be non-existent in the city. While that may be an unattainable goal, we can certainly do things to make it better, and that's what this park is all about. I can't wait until it's all done and we can work towards the common goal of helping those in need.

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