Homeless During the Holidays - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Homeless During the Holidays

Posted: Updated:
PASCO, Wash.--Last year, 941 people in Benton and Franklin counties became homeless at some point. Throughout the state, it's believed at least 750 families need a place to stay and have access to a warm meal every night.

One man we spoke to gave 31 years of his life to the optician field. When he became homeless, it changed everything.

"At first, it was very hard for me to accept the fact that after all my years in working, I was in this position," says Charles Schmidt. But now, I've basically turned it all over to God."

Prayer and chapel service helps these men find the joy and understanding in their lives. They come from all walks of life.

"These are people that just hit hard times, and weren't able to make the bills, weren't able to pay the mortgage," says Tri-Cities Union Gospel Mission Chaplain Mark Heritage. Weren't able to keep life going at a normal pace.

The Benton-Franklin Community Action Committee is responsible for lowering homelessness by 22 percent in 2006. One woman credits a program called Home Base for the results.

"Clients can go to anyone of those 16 places and do an intake eligibility and be referred to different organizations within the network that can help them to get off the street and get into housing," says Judith Gidley, Executive Director, Benton-Franklin Community Action Committee.

Obtaining an eligibility form for Home Base is possible through the Internet. Go to http://www.bfcac.org for more information.

You can also call the Benton-Franklin Community Action Committee directly at (509) 545-4042.