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Coalition organizing to fight homelessness in Liberty

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POSTED: June 10, 2009 9:28 a.m.
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Assistant City Administrator Kenneth Howard

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Homeless coalition moves forward, becomes state recognized corporation
Agencies that currently assist Liberty County’s homeless population now have a formal place to share and gather information.
On Monday, Secretary of State Karen Handel signed an article of incorporation, recognizing The Liberty County Homeless Coalition, as a certified Georgia non-profit organization.  
And on Tuesday, the coalition held its first official incorporated meeting, where members discussed the group’s bylaws, nominated board members and purpose.
“This will be an umbrella organization which would basically be used to consolidate the services rendered by agencies in addressing homelessness,” said Kenny Howard, Hinesville’s assistant city manager. “The ultimate goal is to create a non-profit entity by which we can consolidate the services of all those agencies who want to participate.”
Within in the next few weeks, Howard and more than 15 other coalition members, including Leah Poole, the director of United Way of Liberty County, and Kathy Poole, the county’s Census coordinator, will designate an office site, elect a director and look for ways to congregate and circulate data.
“What I envision is having a Web site or having a place where an agency or a church can register, log in, and enter information into an Excel spreadsheet,” Leah Poole said. “I also thought it would be good to have a community message board for nonprofits.”
“One of our goals is to identify the number of homeless in the area,” Kathy Poole said. “We want to make sure that everybody is counted.”
Howard said the group will also look for means to finance the effort.
“What we plan to do is hire a director, this director will be responsible for seeking grant funding opportunities for the corporation and a lot of the expenses of the director will be paid for through grants,” Howard said.
“It is also important that we become an official non-profit organization with the 501(c) 3 designation,” Howard said. “What it does, is it gives donors that contribute to the organization the ability to write their contributions off as a tax write-off.”
According to Howard, the coalition’s endeavors will ultimately reduce homelessness in the city and county.
“The key to the success [of this coalition] is to really connect, to basically serve as a clearinghouse to those entities that are providing services to those in need and may have a lack of resources,” he said. “We really want to know that we are helping these agencies help the homeless, because ultimately those resources have to get to the homeless population.”
 

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