A home fire.

A vehicle breakdown.

Job loss.

All it takes is one bad thing to tip a trail of dominoes leading to homelessness in America. It’s happened here in the Red River Valley.

In Clarksville.

In Honey Grove.

In Paris, and the towns in between.

Homelessness is a complex issue. There can be one or many contributing factors, including but not limited to wages, job availability, housing, domestic abuse, poor life choices, and homelessness knows no age.

So much of today’s homelessness is out of the public eye. For every panhandler on a corner seeking a few dollars from passersby, there are several people struggling with homelessness on someone’s couch, in a vehicle or in a shelter, if space is available.

That’s why the work of the Lamar County Homelessness Coalition is so important. No one can tackle a problem unless they know there is one, and out of sight is out of mind for many. Homeless people do not line our streets, so it’s no surprise how surprised people are to learn there are as many as 50 homeless individuals in Lamar County alone. That number, found during a 2019 Point In Time survey, could be higher now since going through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Members of the coalition and others met Wednesday at the fountain in downtown Paris to raise awareness of the issue. They wore purple — the official color of the awareness campaign — and held up signs.

Paris is home to several entities working to give homeless people the hand up they need, not just hand outs. Consider supporting them and their work.

Klark Byrd

The Paris News Editorial Board publishes editorials on topics of local relevance on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

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