Coronavirus impacts Augusta’s homeless

Richmond County

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – With most working-class Augustans having the luxury to quarantine in their homes during this pandemic, for the homeless, that’s not the case. According to Augusta Housing  & Community Development Manager Daniel J. Evans, there has been a slight increase in homelessness in the area.

“There are 470 total persons experiencing homelessness on a single night in January of 2020. Of that number, 282 people experienced unsheltered homelessness,” said Evans.

The Point-in-Time (PIT) Count that Augusta Housing uses to document how many homeless people are sheltered and unsheltered in the area highlights that there are a total of 51 adults with children that are considered homeless. Out of that 51, a total of 21 adults with children are unsheltered.

Augusta homelessness
Picture courtesy of: Christopher Shipman

Cisro Wallace, who is part of the unsheltered homeless community in Augusta, said there has been difficulty in finding a place to rest his head for almost 17 years. He expressed his concern for people in his position by saying there have been certain instances where there should have been more done in helping the homeless in Augusta.

“We have not been receiving food and we have not been receiving clothes. Some people get housing, and some get spiritually advised,” said Wallace.  

The Salvation Army Area Commander, Major Douglas McClure, said although they have been providing a place to quarantine for 24-hours a day for almost 100 days straight, there have been challenges.

Augusta homelessness
Picture courtesy of: Christopher Shipman

“One of the biggest things is resource development. One of the biggest things is trying to find enough food to feed people and to make sure we have enough money for additional staff and security,” said McClure.

McClure also said during the hours of operation at Salvation Army, they have provided three meals and two snacks on top of what they gave the community, which was 40,000 drinks and snacks during that time.

According to The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, Georgia has an estimate of 10,443 experiencing homelessness. Of that number, 815 families are homeless as well.

Augusta homelessness
Picture courtesy of: Christopher Shipman

We will update this story as more information becomes available on how the homeless are impacted by the pandemic.

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