There are 6 Committees within the coalition, each with a special purpose and task in ending youth homelessness. They are:
1. Unaccompanied Minor Committee – planning services for homeless children who are under the age of 18
2. Volunteer Committee – recruiting man power and and soliciting community involvement
3. Churches and Religious partners committee – outreach to Alief Churches to become involved in their surrounding community
4. Business Partners – development and maintenance of strong business partner relationships in Alief
5. Host Families – recruiting and training families who are willing to host unaccompanied minors who have siblings in order to keep families together
6. Marketing Committee -- the outreach/fundraising arm of the coalition who will do most of the campaigning
Goals of the Coalition
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.
To achieve the vision of ending youth homelessness within the district, the coalition will have 2 main focuses:
1. Shelter -- Open and operate a shelter to give the unaccompanied homeless minors of Alief a safe, healthy home environment, provide services that will encourage healing from the trauma experienced by being homeless, and to help transition the young adults into healthy productive citizens of Alief.
Why we need a local shelter focused on Youth homelessness
The AISD currently has a record of 45 unaccompanied homeless youth receiving and being assisted with schooling and other services. To date, there are no shelters certified to receive minors in Alief. There are only 2 shelters for minors in the City of Houston and both are downtown. Because the unaccompanied homeless youth don’t want to leave their community to go downtown outside of their network of safety, they choose to “make it” on their own, by staying at several friends’ houses each week, known as “couch surfing.” Moreover, unaccompanied youth have resorted to selling drugs and engage in other criminal activity to make ends meet or pay for day motel rooms and may resort to selling their bodies in areas of Alief known for sex trade. There are also reports of these youth breaking into vacant apartment units for a place to sleep, or stealing food from convenience stores to feed themselves. Because of this unstable lifestyle, many of these youth have many absences from school and find it very difficult to complete high school.
A local shelter will effectively remove the barriers these children are experiencing by providing them a firm and stable foundation in the community where they are in familiar territory and are already living (for details on how the shelter will be operated, please see the “shelter operation” section below).
2. School/Community Partnerships - Cultivate and help facilitate relationships between the 46 schools of Alief and the churches, non-profits, business partners and the concerned neighbors of Alief to attack the homeless issues in each school.
Why it is important to facilitate School/Community Partnerships.
Alief ISD is about 36 sq. miles and has 46 schools within its borders. Each and every school in AISD has homeless children enrolled. There are enough churches, nonprofits and businesses in AISD to ensure that each school gets “adopted” and has a plan or strategy in place to assist the schools with the children that are experiencing homelessness. Something as simple as mentoring or tutoring a homeless child can impact that life for years. Other needs are more material, like food, clothing or school supplies. If each school was supported by the community that it is in (say within a 35 mile radius) to meet the needs of the homeless children in that school, then a serious blow can be dealt to this issue and end cycles of homelessness documented at up to 3 generations in some cases. This would of course require that each school’s administrative staff be open to such a close partnership.
Pastor Parris Patrick
As early as six years old, Pastor Parris had dreams that he would become a pastor one day. That dream fueled a passion in him that fast became evident in late June of 2009 when he established Agape Community Bible Church, now located in the heart of Alief, Texas . Continuing his family's legacy of caring for the homeless and less fortunate, in 2015, he founded and now serves as Executive Director of Alief Coalition for the Homeless, a non-profit organization that works to end homelessness among the children of Alief ISD. Today, they’re fundraising to build a youth shelter which will create a healthy family environment for children in Alief. It is the goal of the coalition to eradicate youth homelessness by ending the generational cycle that's so prevalent in the community. As a pastor and leader in the community, Pastor Parris exemplifies the vision of his church and the mission of the coalition by sharing God's love, "Defending the poor and fatherless: doing justice to the afflicted and needy" as taken from Psalms 82.
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.