City hall counts the homeless population in Hattiesburg


HATTIESBURG, Miss - This is a press release from Hattiesburg City Hall.

During a 24-hour period in the last ten days of every January, homeless advocates in Hattiesburg and across the nation seek to count the homeless persons within their coverage areas. The Point in Time Count will begin on January 25, 2016 at 12 p.m. and concludes on January 26 at 12 p.m.

“The Pine Belt Coalition on Homelessness and volunteers from area agencies partner to get a thorough count which is crucial in identifying and understanding both the progress the we’ve made and the gaps within services,” said Kathy Garner, chairwoman of the Coalition and executive director of the Aids Services Coalition. “We are the most active regional homelessness coalition in the state,” said Garner. “We are very fortunate.”

Last year, the group counted 247 homeless individuals. “We are in the process of hiring a homeless coordinator, the only position of its kind within the state as the City of Hattiesburg’s commitment to end homelessness,” said Mayor Johnny DuPree. “We also have an initiative aimed at ending homelessness for Veterans in which we believe will significantly decrease in 2016.”

Last year, Mayor DuPree joined First Lady Michelle Obama in New Orleans, La. to discuss ways to functionally end homelessness for Veterans and homelessness of others. He said, “The initiative means that we will have a system in place to ensure people are not homeless for an extended period of time.

” The Point in Time Count greatly affects funding, both private and public, for homeless services and affects the methodology of those services. Volunteers will offer toiletry packages to street homeless individuals and resource guides to sheltered persons within the area. Garner urges community members to assist advocates by alerting them of homelessness in their neighborhood.

Citizens are asked to call 601.296.6472 during the week of the Point in Time Count as well as support local organizations throughout the year. For more information about the event, please visit www.muteh.org or hudhre.info or call 601-960-0557.

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