AUSTIN - With construction at every turn, it may not occur to you as you drive on I-35, there are people who live underneath the overpasses. And bridge demolition can displace them.
That is where Richard Troxell comes into the picture.
"Thermal tops, thermal bottoms, hats, gloves, socks,” Troxell explained as some of the items that are stuffed into reflective bags that have been given by the Texas Department of Transportation.
And the bags serve a double purpose, to hold winter items and be reflectors so the homeless can be seen by drivers.
TxDOT contractors have already been handing out the bags at the intersection of 183 and I-35 to the homeless.
"So, as our contractors and our different crews meet up with homeless individuals,” said Diann Hodges, public information officer for the TxDOT, “perhaps during bridge cleanups, they actually have something that they can give them that they can actually use.”
Though Troxell's partnership with TxDOT is new, his organization, House the Homeless, is not.
For 17 years, he has been giving away thermal attire for the homeless every New Year's Day.
He's a veteran who was once homeless himself.
"When I ... came back from the war, Vietnam, a lot of my friends were traumatized,” said Troxell. “We were all traumatized. And a lot of them didn't recover from that. They never did climb out of the woods, from that time, that event. And they're stuck there, so I'm reaching back."
Helping comes naturally to Troxell.
“Come winter, they're forgotten people,” he said.
But Troxell has not forgotten, and he remembers the need.
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