When most Americans are asked to define homelessness, pictures of slums, New York City, Atlanta and cardboard boxes often flood their minds.
This is the stereotype that is portrayed in the media and the movies and is often times misleading.
Every city, state and even country has a different "face" of homelessness and it is unique to each demographic. In large, the definition of homelessness is anyone that does not have permanent shelter. Of course, that definition can lead to many different outcomes.
It could very well lead to someone living in their car, a storage unit, or "doubled-up" in overcrowded homes.
This in fact is what homelessness looks like in Hinesville.
The City of Hinesville has made helping these individuals a priority since 1999 with the start of the City’s Homeless Prevention Program.
The Homeless Prevention Program strives each year to help as many local citizens that are experiencing housing difficulties through transitional housing programs, emergency shelter, utility assistance and rapid re-housing.
Thanks to the funds we have received from our local government, as well as our federal granting agencies, the Homeless Prevention Program has been able to assist 376 individuals in various states of homelessness over the past year.
As we prepare for our next program year it is vital that we gather pertinent data that details to our granting agencies the needs for our local area.
We will accomplish this by conducting a Point-In-Time Count in Liberty and Bryan counties from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday.
The object of this event is to count the number of shelter and unsheltered homeless persons in our local communities.
This event is part of a state and nationwide effort to identify and assess the needs of people experiencing housing difficulties.
Collecting this type of data helps to identify trending barriers to homeless and it will help our local agencies and programs to better target supportive services and develop a comprehensive plan to address poverty and homelessness in Liberty and Bryan County.
We encourage anyone that would like to volunteer for this event or if you have observed a homeless individual in your local area please contact the Homeless Prevention Program at (912) 876-6573.