In addition to this hire, the city is also relying on a little science thanks to a group of interns from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. These graduate students have collected data and reviewed past ideas; their work will be invaluable when the liaison is hired.
City leaders considered helping the homeless a priority long before the Blucher Park ordinance controversy. But what's the first step? Because before you can find solutions, you need to know what the problems are.
“Unless you have all the information, you don't have any answers,” said City of Corpus Christi Interim Assistant Director of Human Resources Liza Wisner.
Wisner is helping head up the search for the city's first homeless liaison. That person will rely on data being collected by a Texas A&M-Corpus Christi intern who has been getting data straight from the source: the city's homeless themselves, and the agencies that help them.
“We're doing the legwork,” said Wisner. “Any time you start a new project you have to do some research, you have to analyze; you have to figure out what agencies exist, what services do they provide?”
Other students from A&M-CC's Public Administration program are also working on the issue.
“There was a general consensus that homelessness was the issue that really needed to be addressed,” said A&M-CC Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Public Administration Sarah Scott.
Scott's class has provided the city with data on homelessness issues over the last two years. She believes the city's plan for a new homeless liaison is a step in the right direction.
“This isn't the main one focal issue for any one entity, so I think having a dedicated staff that's working on the issue is going to be really important,” said Scott.
This collection of data will act as a road map as the city's new liaison starts their journey toward a solution.
“Through this research we're hopefully going to be identifying where there's gaps in the services,” said Wisner. “Every entity is supporting their entity based on their specific mission. We have to remember that as a city, local government entity, we have to serve all citizens.”