Around 60 Volunteers are out in the community conducting the annual point-in-time count of the homeless population here in Muscogee and Russell Counties.
Volunteers are going to various homeless shelters in the area.
Pat Frey with Home for Good says the numbers were much higher yesterday when volunteers surveyed shelters. Frey says this count is conducted to assess the needs of the homeless community.
Frey says by doing so, the city can determine if they have enough resources to fulfill the needs, or how services should be realigned.
“Do we need more resources for children, do we need more resources for men?Do we need more resources for women,” Frey said.
“It really gives us a great opportunity to do a gap analysis on the needs and the resources available. We also look at the resources available to look at the same night we look at how many beds and how many resources are available, what populations they serve, so we can do a proper gap analysis.”
She says this annual survey helps agencies know how to help.
“It provides information as to what services are needed and how we can both serve those who are hurting and homeless here in this community,” Rhonda Mobley, president/ceo of Valley Rescue Mission said.
Neil Richardson runs SafeHouse Ministries which reaches out to the homeless.
“Over the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in women and children homeless in this area. So we’ve been trying to refocus beds,” Richardson said.
Frey says she believes the final count will be somewhere close to last year in the 200’s. She says right now they are checking their data to make sure there aren’t any duplicate names. Referrals to different programs should be issued by the end of the week.
“Whether it be mental health, physical health, all of the housing programs, both of the housing authorities on both sides of the river and everything in between. If it’s a person who services the community somehow we’re all connected,” Frey said.
Frey says there’s been a decrease in the numbers over the last couple of years. Richardson says that’s why he participates. Not for the numbers, but to help people get homes.
“If I share my resources and my wisdom with another agency and we all sit around and triage people. We can start housing those people and that’s ending homelessness instead of just sweeping it under the rug,” Richardson said.