National homeless count vital to those in need
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - It’s a world many don’t see: the world of homeless camps. Volunteers all over the nation took part in what’s called the Point in Time Homeless Count. WLOX went out with the Open Doors Homeless Coalition and others to find camps and find people.
“It’s done annually across the country. All those groups choose a day in late January to produce this snapshot of homelessness,” said Dena Whittmann, housing director for Open Doors. “It gives us an idea in a 24-hour period of time all across the country of how many people are experiencing homelessness and what their needs are.”
There are also success stories, like Dennis Sirmons, a U.S. Army veteran who’s been homeless for three years and lives in his car. As it turns out, the Veterans Administration was looking for him to set him up with permanent housing.
“I’ve been trying to move on, and I was about to give up until I met y’all,” Sirmons told the group. “I would rather live in a place that has a roof over it. I’ve had to re-straighten the tarps on my car because a tree fell on it.”
In this case, it’s mission accomplished. They’ve got their count, some of the homeless got food and water, and people like Sirmons may actually get some permanent housing down the road.
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