AUGUSTA , Ga. (WFXG) - STARTING THe WEEK of january 23, VOLUNTEERS WILL HIT THE STREETS TO COUNT THE HOMELESS. fox54 spoke with THE CHAIR OF THE HOMELESS TASK FORCE ABOUT THEIR PRIORITIES AS THE CITY GEARS UP FOR ITS 2023 POINT-IN-TIME COUNT.

WITH A GROWING HOMELESS POPULATION IN AUGUSTA, JORDAN JOHNSON, CHAIRMAN OF THE CITIES HOMELESS TASK FORCE RECOGNIZES THERE’S A LOT OF WORK TO BE DONE.“THERE IS SO MUCH WORK THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IN THIS COMMUNITY, WHERE MENTAL HEALTH IS CONCERNED, WHERE HOUSING IS CONCERNED, SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND JUST ALL THINGS RIGHT," says JOHNSON. "WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE SERVING OUR HOMELESS COMMUNITY THE VERY BEST THAT WE CAN BECAUSE THEY ARE PEOPLE JUST LIKE WE ARE, oNLY DIFFERENCE IS THEY DON’T HAVE ANYWHERE TO CALL HOME. WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CHANGE THAT NARRATIVE.”

AS THE 2023 POINT IN TIME COUNT BEGINS THIS WEEK IN AUGUSTA. HE SAYS THEY ARE EAGER TO GET THE INFORMATION BACK AND STRATEGIZE HOW TO BEST ALLOCATE RESOURCES. THE SURVEY HAS two GOALS: IDENTIFYING THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THE CITY WITHOUT A HOME AND WHAT RESOURCES THESE PEOPLE NEED.

MONTHS AGO, THE TASK FORCE SET A STRATEGIC PLAN IN MOTION. johnson says YOU CAN ALREADY POINT TO SMALL VICTORIES LIKE THE TINY HOME ORDINANCE WHICH USES FEDERAL DOLLARS TO HOUSE THE HOMELESS. “THE TINY HOME ORDINANCE WORKS. YOU LOOK AT OTHER OPTIONS WHERE WE’RE GOING OUT TO ENCAMPMENTS, OFFERING FOLKS SERVICES, ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE IN THE PLAN AND THEY ARE WORKING TODAY. WE HAVE SUCCESS STORIES WHERE WE’VE BEEN ABLE TO HELP MULTIPLE PEOPLE IN THIS COMMUNITY. WE’RE JUST STARTING AND WE HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO DO. BUT, WE’RE IN MOTION AND THE TASK FORCE IS WORKING DAILY TO MAKE SURE THAT FOLKS THAT NEED OUR ASSISTANCE, RECEIVE OUR ASSISTANCE.”

FIRST STOP, A ONE STOP CENTER HAS ALSO ALLEVIATED THE NEED FOR MANY who are homeless. JOHNSON SAYS A DAY CENTER AND OVERNIGHT SHELTERS ARE ALSO IN THE WORKS. THE FUNDING THAT COMES FROM THe SURVEY WILL HELP MAKE IT POSSIBLE.

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