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The face of homelessness in Collin County

The face of homelessness in Collin County looks a little different than other places.

The face of homelessness in Collin County looks a little different than other places.

Experts estimate 500 families are homeless at any given time, and nearly half of them are working professionals who have fallen on hard times, according to Stacy Brown with the Collin County Homeless Coalition.

"These people get up and go to work everyday, but they don't have anywhere to sleep or get ready," Brown said.

On Wednesday Brown organized a summit for organizations from across the county to meet and discuss how they can address the growing problem together. Right now Collin County doesn't have an emergency homeless shelter, that's something Brown wants to change.

"We're seeing a lot of people staying in churches and weekly motels," Brown said.

One of the biggest problems is a lack of affordable housing. Brown says the average one bedroom apartment is $1,500.

"A person has to make between $17 and $21 an hour to afford that," Brown said.

For service workers, teachers, school bus drivers and other professions, that bill is far too high and any unexpected expense can put a family on the street. Brown calls this "situational homelessness," when families are without a home for less than a year, as opposed to chronic homelessness where individuals are on the streets or in shelters long term.

"A lot of the people here have jobs. They go to work and nobody knows what they're going through," Brown said.

Browns says her goal is to work with cities across Collin County to create more affordable housing and support systems for families in danger of losing their homes.

"We have a lot of work to do, but we're here to get it done," Brown said.