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Groups eliminating poverty, little by little
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Editor, I am excited about the work that is going on in Liberty County in the area of homeless prevention and assistance.
For the record, I am the president of the Liberty County Homeless Coalition, Inc., and while I quickly acknowledge that we have much work to do, I am proud of what we are doing for the homeless in our county. I am particularly grateful for the Kirk Healing Center, Hinesville’s Homeless Prevention Program (formerly the Next Step Program) and other civic, government and religious organizations that have joined together to form the Liberty County Homeless Coalition.
I want to give a brief update on what we have been doing collectively and what we have been able to achieve.
On Aug. 24-25, the coalition coordinated a visit in Liberty County from the Salvation Army’s Homeless Prevention Rapid Rehousing case manager. This program is administered through the Salvation Army Georgia Division. During this visit, the case manager interviewed 19 homeless or nearly homeless Liberty Countians and was able to assist 17 of those interviewed.
The Kirk Healing Center has assisted at least 70 individuals from January through September 2010. KHC averages 12-15 homeless adults — men and women — living in KHC homes. In addition to receiving shelter, these homeless individuals receive a myriad of services from the center.
The city of Hinesville’s Homeless Prevention Program has, over the years, assisted a host of Liberty Countians with its five different programs, all of which are designed to help transition people into self-sufficiency. There are 15 homes provided in stable, safe and decent communities around the city. This year alone, the Homeless Prevention Office received more than 124 referrals from community service and faith based organizations of families who have been or were homeless at some point.
I cannot tell you how many homeless people are assisted by churches and pastors on a weekly basis. Help may come in the form of a few nights in a hotel, support or long-term help.
Is it possible to point out a particular situation or person who did not get help? You bet you can! We cannot and have not helped everyone who applied. However, through the various programs and services available throughout the county and city, we have helped many. People in need have received emergency shelter, food, utility and rental assistance. Many have been placed in transitional or supportive housing.
Am I satisfied? No! And I will not be satisfied as long as one homeless person sleeps in the streets or stays under a gazebo or squats in an abandoned house.
I am reminded of the story of the little boy who walked the beach and threw stranded starfish back into the ocean. When critics said his effort did not make a difference with so many starfish stranded, he picked up another, threw it into the water and said, “For that one it did!”
There are many citizens throughout our county and city who throw back a starfish every day. I commend them, the churches, the supportive service agencies, the city and county workers and other co-laborers who work every day to eradicate homelessness and poverty in our community. Even when funds are exhausted, each of us can lend a hand by letting our moment of interaction with another person be positive and encouraging.
If you would like to get involved, please call me at 368-9154.

— The Rev. Hermon Scott
Baconton Missionary
Baptist Church, Allenhurst

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