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Local homeless population rises as addiction, mental illness grow

Posted at 10:32 PM, May 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-23 23:40:22-04

Homelessness in Corpus Christi is a growing issue.

A-point-in-time survey done in 2018 counted close to 600 homeless locally, but the number is believed to be much larger. But who are they and what’s being done to help? KRIS 6 spoke with one man who is fighting an addiction that keeps him on the streets.

Folks on the streets know him as Fast Eddie. His addiction to methamphetamines has taken everything he owns,

” I’m trying very hard to stay off the meth,” he says. “It’s very hard. It’s been a long addiction for me.”

 In a few months Eddie will turn 60 years old and his battle with addiction has lasted more than half his life. It’s an addiction that’s landed him on the streets time and time again.

“The problem is I can’t keep a steady job because of my addiction. I’ll get to three or four or five days a week and then I’ll relapse,” Eddie says. “That puts me in a tailspin, now I’m too high to go to work, too high to do anything and too stupid to talk and that’s where I end up. And it puts me right back on the bottom and it’s a horrible thing.”

Eddie is like so many of those living on the streets. Most of the homeless are fighting addiction or suffering from mental illness. Corpus Christi has resources but the city is limited in what it can do.

Pastor Ryan Pflughapt with The Station Church says: “The Station Church provides people a place to be energized. A place to sit down let their legs be strengthened and to be encouraged to find a few moments of clarity in a safe environment.”

They also provide a warm meal Wednesday and Sunday nights at 7 p.m. The City of Corpus Christi does a good job about feeding the homeless. There are a handful of shelters, a few sobriety homes and some programs designed to get the homeless working. But they only help if you’re clean.

For Eddie, the help is there as long as he stays clean.

“All the help starts a soon as you start using again,” he says. “Then, you’re frustrated, you’re angry, you’re hopeless. Where does it lead you back to your addiction?”

Pastor Pflughapt says, “Those people who have burned all their bridges and have nowhere else to go they will always have a place to come – to the Station Church to find someone there to pray with, walk alongside of them and encourage them and help connect them to more resources.”

But finding the resources that will help is the issue. If what’s being offered isn’t getting the job done, the city will continue to see a growing homeless population.

Eddie is qualified carpenter and painter, owning his own business at one time.

But despite his struggles he keeps praying for better days.

“I know I’m God’s child and he doesn’t give up so I keep swinging,” he said. “I keep getting up. It’s not how many times you get knocked down it’s how many times you get up.

“I get up every time.”

For information on The Station Church you can contact Pastor Ryan Pflughapt at 361-434-0325. The church is located at 209 S Tancahua St. in Corpus Christi.