WAYNE COUNTY - As the summer season continues, most of us are attending summer holiday celebrations, graduation parties, and weddings. Hopefully, many of us are enjoying leisure time on vacations or time off from work with family and friends. Some of us are beginning to think about getting the kids ready to go back to school and planning back to school shopping trips.
Unfortunately for some, this is a time of year that individuals and families struggle to maintain their basic needs. Often times, kids being home during the summer means increased grocery bills and summer heat means increased utility bills. Individuals and families may be continuing to try to recover from the economic turn down in recent years and there are always those curve balls that life randomly throws at you.
As a result, people can very suddenly find themselves without the means to meet their basic needs to include a roof over their heads. Initially, they may forego what some of us deem are necessities. There will be only one meal daily, the car is not repaired and no longer runs, and then some face the ultimate challenge: losing their home or apartment. At first they may “couch surf” with relatives or friends. Then they may live in their car if one exists. Then they may literally ‘hit the streets.’
On a national level, there are approximately 21 homeless individuals per 10,000 in the general population. With Wayne County’s population hovering around 53,000 that equates to about 59 people. In an effort to coordinate the increasingly limited resources that are available, a Local Housing Options Team (L-HOT) has been established as a subcommittee of the Wayne County Human Services Quality Council.
This coalition which includes the participation and partnership of those in the community with an interest in housing and homelessness, seeks to identify local housing needs, to expand housing options, and find long term solutions to housing and homelessness related issues.
With this in mind, the L-HOT and volunteers will be participating in an August Point-In-Time (PIT) Count. This is a bi-annual event where volunteers spread through the community seeking out those who are homeless to obtain statistical information to be entered into a Federal database which prioritizes funding for housing related monies. In exchange for participation, they hope to provide participants with resource information, toiletries, and snacks.
"Will you volunteer to help us for one night? We really need the help of a few good volunteers to join us in locating people who are homeless," said L-HOT officials.
Please contact Cindy Matthews of the L-HOT at 570-253-9200 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in assisting the team on Thursday, August 21st between 4:30 and 8:30 p.m.