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City, county target homelessness
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The city of Hinesville, Liberty County, the Liberty County Homeless Coalition and the Salvation Army are working together to prevent homelessness in the local area through the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program.
 The HPRP is funded at the national level by a $1.5 billion federal grant authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Eleven of the largest metro areas in Georgia, such as Atlanta and Macon, will receive $14 million of these funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The remaining $19 million will be distributed to other areas across the state through agencies authorized by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
The coastal region’s HPRP, which includes Liberty County, will be supervised by the Salvation Army, said Hinesville Assistant Manager Ken Howard.  The Salvation Army will screen applicants and determine who meets eligibility requirements for the homelessness prevention program, Howard said.
An exact fund amount for Liberty County has not yet been determined, he added. The local program is eligible to receive up to $200,000.
“We’re working diligently with the Salvation Army to streamline the program to make those funds readily accessible to Liberty County,” he said.
Howard stressed the homelessness prevention program does not provide rent or utility payment assistance to residents who are experiencing financial difficulties. HPRP is only for those individuals and families who are homeless or are on the verge of becoming homeless, he said.
 The program also does not provide cash assistance, according to the DCA Web site.
To be eligible for HPRP, applicants must earn an income equal to or less than 50 percent of the Area Median Income for the area. They must also be verified as being literally homeless, that is, living on the street; in a car or at a shelter, or be subject to eviction. Eligible applicants for the HPRP would participate in case management and be willing to work toward a stable housing situation and contribute to monthly bills, according to DCA.
Howard said city and county officials, the Salvation Army, and the Rev. Hermon Scott, pastor of Baconton Missionary Baptist Church in Allenhurst and chair of the Liberty County Homeless Coalition, will meet today to discuss the homelessness prevention program.
“There are (still) questions on how the funds will be distributed,” he said.
Howard said recommendations will be made at the meeting and officials will discuss how local resources can best be used to assist the homeless.
“It’s a good thing for our community,” he said. “And we want to make sure it’s being used properly.”
Scott, chairman of the Liberty County Homeless Coalition, agrees.
The coalition, which was formed about six months ago, according to Scott, was established to try to eradicate homelessness in Liberty County.
“Homelessness may not be the same here as you would see in an urban area,” Scott explained. “We do have, by definition, several homeless people in the area. But you may not see them out on the street. “Oftentimes families will double up and stay together, or friends will help people by letting them stay the night. People still help each other out here. But make no mistake, these people are homeless and we’re trying to help them find a permanent place to live.”
For more information on the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program in this area, call the Salvation Army Service Center at (912) 651-7420 or toll-free at 1-866-387-2657 or go to
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