AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) —- Augusta’s Housing and Community Development Department is conducting its annual count of the homeless in our area. It also allows them to find the best services for those in need.
More than 4,000 people in Georgia and South Carolina are experiencing homelessness. So, many of them wander the streets. In the last 10 days of January, communities nationwide conduct a point in time count of people living in and out of shelters.
“We have to know what are the problem is,” said Code Coordinator with Richmond County Marshall Office, Shawn Hargis-Rhodes. “We have to know what we are dealing with before we can come up with a good plan to handle it.”
Local law enforcement agencies and several Augusta city employees volunteer, by visiting different locations throughout the downtown area where homeless men and women are known to gather.
“Cold nights like tonight when we have trouble making it to our cars; this is where people are spending the night,” described Daniel Evans.
The community development manager says there is an increase in families with children and people over the age of 54 experiencing homelessness. He says the majority of people who receive services in Augusta are from here.
“As we see continue development throughout Augusta, thanks to cyber and other business that are coming, the unfortunate reality is the rise in the cost of housing is forcing more people to precarious situations,” said Evans.
The Richmond County Marshall Office IT Department is also trying to reduce the number of homeless people. Their newly created database will keep up with those folks and try to connect them with a job.
“This will help us keep the data that we need to show where are problems are,” said Hargis-Rhodes.
The volunteers say this call to action is not just the city’s issue.
“We all deal with this situation,” said Hargis-Rhodes. This is everyone’s issue, and it’s the community’s issue, What we want to do is, do everything we can to get the homeless off the streets.”
The Georgia Point In Time Count will continue until January 31st. The reports will be sent to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.