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Mon September 30, 2013
Partners Ending Homelessness to Explore Affordable Housing Options at Forum
A Guilford County advocacy group is hoping to bring together a group of people this week who can make some serious headway when it comes to ending homelessness.
Salima Thomas is the Housing and Community Relations Manager for Partners Ending Homelessness, in High Point. “We serve as the lead agency to end homelessness in Guilford County,” Thomas explains, “We help to provide resources to our community partners through training, grants administration for federal, local, and non-profit funds that come through our agency, and also connecting the general public and individuals who are experiencing homelessness, with resources that are available in Guilford County.”
In January, Partners Ending Homelessness participated in a nationwide event known as the “Point in Time” count, which offers up a snapshot of homelessness on any given day. It can be compared with numbers collected during a similar timeframe in previous years. This year’s count found a total of 949 homeless individuals in Greensboro and High Point. Those numbers include homeless people both in and out of shelters, those experiencing chronic homelessness, victims of domestic violence, families with children, and veterans. Also included in those statistics are those with diagnosable serious mental illnesses or substance abuse disorders, or HIV/Aids, as well as people who find themselves homeless 30 days after having been discharged from jail or prison, behavioral health facilities, or hospitals.
This Thursday October 3, the Partners will hold a forum to work toward solutions. Thomas says, “It’s designed to pretty much provide insight to what’s going on as relates to housing and homelessness trends in Guilford County, and also to emphasize the importance of community partnerships, especially as resources are becoming, less and less as time goes on. We’re encouraging more efficient practices by working with for-profit, government and non-profit entities to help address the issue of homelessness in our community.”
They’re hoping to attract a wide range of people with ideas, and those who are willing to devote some time and expertise to tackle the challenge of ending homelessness in Guilford County. “Developers… builders… advocates. Anyone who is related to helping to create and develop affordable housing in our community.”
Whether or not someone is able to attend the forum, Thomas points out that everyone can help with the problem of homelessness.
“People can get involved in a multi-faceted approach,” she says, “First, learning more about the issue, and trying to break down some of those stereotypes and images we have in our minds. A typical person experiencing homelessness is no longer the older gentleman that’s sitting on the side of the road, carrying a sign and asking for money. The face of homelessness is rapidly changing. It’s now becoming families, with children, and we’re wanting to respond to that need.”
She continues, “So that first part, as I said, is educating the community and providing greater awareness of the issue of homelessness, and not just sweeping it under the rug like it’s not really an issue.”
The Housing and Homelessness Partnership Forum will be held this Thursday October 3 at noon, at Deep River Event Center, 606 Millwood School Road, in Greensboro.
For more information, or to register, click here.