Homeless population in Midland takes different shape

Williams represents one of Midland’s new faces of homeless: Men, women and families who work full time but can’t afford high monthly rents brought on by the supercharged economy.

Just beyond the shadow of Midland’s downtown skyline is a homeless shelter as unique as the unofficial capital of the West Texas oil patch.

After all, how many shelters can claim parking issues? The Salvation Army can.

The South Baird Street emergency shelter offers food and lodging for Midland’s tired, poor and huddled masses. But outside, the parking lot is overflowing with vehicles, including — at one point in time — a silver Mercedes Benz.

“We have so many vehicles, we don’t know what to do with them,” said Tex Ellis, captain of the Salvation Army of Midland, in October.

There is some irony in that less than two months ago, the Midland City Council provided an incentive-laden deal with a local developer to help make the 50-plus-story Energy Tower a reality. A reason for the need for such a project, Midlanders heard over and over, was the parking that would be provided by the Energy Tower — arguably the most lavish commercial development between Midland and Arizona.

Midland’s boom has created opportunities, to be sure.

The most recent Bureau of Economic Analysis shows Midland is first among the nation’s metropolitan areas for per capita income. There is money to be made in the Permian Basin.


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