Few would expect that Mayor Annise Parker knows so well the plight of the homeless. But she shared her poignant story of rescuing a young man from living on the streets with the 350 guests attending the annual luncheon of the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston and Harris County.
Parker and her life partner, Kathy Hubbard, took in the young man, now their son, in an effort that afforded them unusual understanding and empathy for those on the streets. For her efforts on behalf of Houston's homeless, Parker was presented the Friends of the Homeless — Peg Dudar Individual Advocate Award in ceremonies at the Doubletree Hotel Downtown.
“This is personal for me because it affected my family and affects the lives of so many others,” Parker said. “I appreciate the award and everyone at the coalition for their support. We are a community and together we will help those most in need of life’s basic necessities.”
“This is personal for me because it affected my family and affects the lives of so many others."
Among those applauding the mayor were three of the coalition co-founders — Bishop Joseph Fiorenza, the Rev. Bill Lawson and former Harris County Judge Jon Lindsay. They were on board when the coalition was formed more than 30 years ago.
Good news for the effort at fighting homelessness was reported by coalition president and CEO Marilyn L. Brown. Preliminary results of the Point-in-Time Homeless Count show that homelessness is down 27 percent from January 2011 to January 2013.
Sharing the spotlight with the mayor were Achievers of the Year Shane Schlemeyer and Twaunette Sharpe, both of whom were previously homeless and now engaged members of the Houston community.
Coalition supporters on hand included board members Stephen L. Williams, Nancy Frees Fountain, Thomas Verhagen, the Rev. Rudy Rasmus and Linda K. May plus David Ruiz, Diane Hasell Englet, Lucretia Ahrens, Mandy Chapman Semple and Central Houston Inc. president Bob Eury, who summarized the coalition's 30-plus year history.