Open Door offers resources, rides to help homeless population vo - FOX34 Lubbock

Open Door offers resources, rides to help homeless population vote

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

You do not need a home address to vote. However, encouraging homeless people to head to the polls has always proven challenging. 

Walter Paschel is one of the thousands of Lubbock citizens exercising his right to vote. 

"It made me feel good for being a representative of the United States of America," Paschel said.

He is also part of a small percentage of voters living in high poverty.

"I was homeless for 22 years, now that I have a home for 2 years, I'm comfortable," Paschel said.

A home provided by Open Door, a non-profit ministry dedicated to solving the crisis of homelessness in Lubbock.

"At open door, we want to make sure that if somebody wants to vote, they have the opportunity to, the support to be able to do it, the ride, if they need that," Executive Director Chad Wheeler said.

Wheeler helped register voters, figure out if they have the correct form of ID and provided homeless people with internet access so they can research issues and candidates. 

"I brought a friend up this afternoon who hasn't voted his entire life," Wheeler said. "He's 63 years old. Never voted and he told me that you know for most of his life he just thought his vote wasn't going to count anyways so what's the point." 

That is the mentality of most people living in high poverty or on the streets.

"They're embarrassed in their situation, and their living in that situation and their kind of hidden from everybody and in all, they just don't feel like their a part of their society," Paschel said.

Wheeler said, while it is hard to change their minds, he is going to make sure those who wanted to vote, did. 

"Just make sure that this population who is typically under-represented, politically under-represented in the voting process has the opportunity, feels like they have the opportunity to engage and they really are citizens whose voice matters within our community and within our country," Wheeler said.

Wheeler said the mission is not to sway the demographic to vote one way or another, but remind them they too, have a voice. 

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