COLUMBUS, Ga. – A little time goes a long way in getting a glimpse of what homelessness looks like in Columbus. Home for Good will host its annual point-in-time count Tuesday and Wednesday, January 24-25. For the past year, the city of Columbus has concentrated their efforts to reduce the number of people roaming the streets without a home.
United Way and Home for Good are now working to gain a better perspective on how to track and help those living on the streets. Dozens of volunteers from several local organizations, as well as community members, are going through specific training. The training teaches volunteers how to sensitively approach and talk to homeless people.
Heather Crutchfield volunteered during the point-in-time count last year. She says the experience is humbling and eye-opening.
“You’re not really that far away sometimes from being out of a home,” Crutchfield said. “It was an eye-opener. People who had jobs and families and everything going for them just lost a job. And then things just got out of control.”
This year, Crutchfield is encouraging others to sacrifice a small portion of their time to make a difference in ending homelessness in the area. There are still three training sessions left to participate in the point-in-time count. Home for Good will host two sessions at Troy University Phenix City Riverfront Campus Thursday, Jan. 18 from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Eastern) and 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. (Eastern). The last session will be held at United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley headquarters, located on 5th Ave, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The point-in-time count targets Uptown Columbus, the River Walk, area bridges, 2nd Ave., and a portion of the median off J.R. Allen to get an accurate count of the homeless population.
Last year, Home for Good had about 40 volunteers participate. In total, they were able to find housing for about 140 veterans and 135 chronically homeless people.