COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Home For Good, a United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley program, counted a 2% uptick in people experiencing homelessness in Muscogee and Russell Counties in their annual Point In Time Count.
Marketing and communications director Lindsey Platts said the size of the increase is surprising due to the financial strains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are excited the numbers are so close to what they were last year,” said Platts.
Home For Good volunteers started on a frigid Feb. 16 evening, breaking out into teams and visiting shelters. Over that evening and the next day, volunteers surveyed 254 individuals experiencing homelessness in shelters, transitional housing, and unsheltered in Muscogee and Russell Counties.
Last year, volunteers counted 247 individuals experiencing homelessness. Platt said the increase is most likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What you do is sit down and talk to different people at these shelters,” said Platts, “and get general information from them–their age, any underlying issues.”
With two warming shelters open due to the cold temperatures, volunteers counted 18 individuals unsheltered over the two day survey. The more people Home for Good can gather information from, the better United Way is able to help those who need it.
“The point is to connect them to resources in the community and ultimately get them housed,” explained Platts.
This is the 13th annual Point In Time survey, and it collects data about the housing situation, family and health of individuals experiencing homelessness.