Pandemic impacts homelessness, Home for Good documenting just how much

Georgia

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Home for Good’s annual point in time count began tonight. The point in time count is a count of the homeless population in the Russell County and Muscogee County areas. 

The organization is using the count to assess the needs of the homeless population, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Things like eviction and loss of jobs can lead to homelessness, and the pandemic can exacerbate these circumstances. 

Volunteers headed to local shelters such as Damascus Way, House of Mercy, and SafeHouse for their in-shelter count. 

“We want to still be able to assess the needs of the community and we have some special questions as part of our point in time count to ask if those who are experiencing homelessness… whether it is a direct result of COVID-19,” Pat Frey, Vice President of United Way Home for Good, said.

The count is usually held towards the end of January, but, due to the pandemic, it was pushed to February. The cold weather may draw more of the homeless population to warming and emergency shelters, and Frey thinks this may help increase accuracy in the count. 

Frey says the organization is going to use this information to make referrals and hopes to eventually move them into permanent, stable housing.

The count will continue bright and early tomorrow, and volunteers will work to count the unsheltered portion of the homeless population.

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