Vol­un­teers needed to count area home­less

Lo­cal ser­vice providers join­ing forces

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - By Rachel Oswald

Vol­un­teers are needed to help ad­min­is­ter a count of New­ton County’s home­less pop­u­la­tion for the Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Com­mu­nity Af­fairs.

The count will take place at var­i­ous agen­cies around the county in­clud­ing New­ton Med­i­cal Cen­ter, the New­ton County De­ten­tion Cen­ter and the New­ton County Health De­part­ment from Aug. 20 through Aug. 24.

“We’re hop­ing that the ser­vice providers in New­ton County can re­ally uti­lize this in­for­ma­tion,” said El­iz­a­beth Run­kle, co­or­di­na­tor for Path- ways Com­mu­nity Net­work, a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion work­ing with the DCA to or­ga­nize the count.

The goal of the count — which will en­com­pass the whole county — is to get an ac­cu­rate idea of how many peo­ple in the county are home­less or are pre­car­i­ously housed and likely to be­come home­less and to find out what their needs are in or­der to plan bet­ter for the long-term needs of this seg­ment of the county’s pop­u­la­tion.

Vol­un­teers are needed to as­sist ser­vice providers in col­lect­ing data dur­ing the count.

Run­kle said that vol­un­teers will be placed inside var­i­ous county agen­cies dur­ing the week of the count to briefly in­ter­view home­less per­sons.

There will be two train­ing ses­sions for vol­un­teers. The first will take place at 9 a.m. Thurs­day in the coun­cil room of Cov­ing­ton City Hall. The sec­ond will take place at 1:30 p.m. Fri­day in the same lo­ca­tion. Both ses­sions are ex­pected to last ap­prox­i­mately 30 min­utes said Run­kle.

While the county’s sole home­less shel­ter, Rain­bow Covenant Min­istries, con­ducts a yearly count of the peo­ple that it houses, the Rev. Clara Lett who runs the shel­ter said this is the first time that a count has been taken of the whole county.

In ad­di­tion, Run­kle said the count will be in­stru­men­tal in a math­e­mat­i­cal model that the DCA and Ken­ne­saw State Univer­sity are cur­rently work­ing on. Based on New­ton County’s count and the counts of nine other Ge­or­gia coun­ties, the model will pre­dict the num­ber of home­less and pre­car­i­ously housed in­di­vid­u­als liv­ing through­out the state.

Hav­ing the model will al­low the DCA to con­tinue to re­ceive fed­eral fund­ing from the United States De­part­ment of Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment said Run­kle.

In­ter­ested vol­un­teers can con­tact Run­kle at (404) 639-9933 ex. 322 or by e-mail at el­iz­a­beth.run­kle@ peni.org.

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