Augusta, GA (WJBF)- With the colder temperatures in the CSRA comes concern for the homeless population. The Freddie Mae Foundation is trying to help, but is short on volunteers and resources.
The founder of the Freddie Mae Foundation said the homeless situation in Augusta is worse than many think.
He said the city needs to do more to help organizations like his, that don’t have the funds or resources to make a real difference to the people in need and commends commissioner Jordan Johnson for opening a temporary shelter over the weekend.
“Well I think Commissioner Johnson did an excellent job. It’s amazing what happens when you actually put your supplications out there and somebody who cares is watching,” said Christopher Mulliens, the man behind the Freddie Mae Foundation.
Mulliens started the Freddie Mae Foundation when he said he saw the lack of resources for CSRA homeless. He said Augusta is the second largest city in Georgia with a larger homeless population than most realize. He said that right now his organization needs help from the community to continue its work.
“No one organization can do it alone. It all takes us coming together as a community starting from within to make sure we eradicate homelessness,” explained Mulliens.
David Clark is a regular volunteer with the Freddie May Foundation. He said he brings his children with him because it’s important to teach them empathy and service to others.
“The first time my kids did it and I asked them afterwards, I just kinda asked them what they thought and what they wanted,” said Clark. “And they just said ‘Wow, that guy was kinda young.’ or ‘Daddy, he doesn’t have a place to sleep tonight.’ “
Mulliens said there are so many misconceptions about the homeless that he believes are keeping people from helping. He said many homeless people are working several minimum wage jobs, but without a raise in minimum wage to keep up with inflation, they can’t afford to keep a roof over their heads.
“I mean, when you have to pay for trying to get clothing, food, even transportation, I mean it’s very, very difficult, especially if a job is only paying you $7 an hour,” Mulliens said.
Mulliens said that some shelters require payment to stay there. Many don’t have the money or can’t get to the shelter by the cutoff time because of work schedules.
Glenwood Mckie has been living on the streets for nearly four months. He said it can be difficult to find work that pays enough to be able to afford a place to live and that organizations like the Freddie Mae Foundation are vital.
“The people over here in Augusta Georgia from what I can see have been really genuine. The give assistance in any way they can,” said McKie.
Mulliens got emotional talking about the people he said he serves and sais that it frustrates him that helping the homeless has become so political.
“Once again, this is not just a Democratic or a Republican or Independent issue. This is a humane issue.”
The Freddie Mae Foundation sets up to provide food and clothing to the homeless at GAP ministries in downtown Augusta on the first and third Saturdays of every month from 2-5 pm.
Anyone interested in donating or volunteering can find out how by clicking HERE.