Number of homeless in our community alarming

Published 8:35 pm Friday, January 29, 2016

One hundred sixty: the number of homeless counted in Vicksburg and Warren County this week.

The annual survey, performed by Mountain of Faith Ministry and and the Warren County Continuum of Care, seeks to get a grasp of the number of homeless living in Warren County.

In doing so, the organizations are able to paint a more accurate picture of the homeless situation in Warren County, which helps when applying for grants, and ultimately, it helps the homeless and helps our community.

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The combined effort of these two organizations, especially the 10 people who volunteered their time to do the counting, is to be commended.

Executive director and founder of Mountain of Faith Ministry Tina Hayward said she knew they wouldn’t find every homeless person in the county, but she tried to find a good sample of people to get an idea of the numbers of homeless in the area.

It’s certainly better than no data at all.

“When I first started this, I didn’t realize this many homeless people were here,” Hayward said.

Since 2010, the number has varied from 71 to 204, fluctuating each year, but like Hayward said, these numbers likely don’t include all of the homeless.

Let this number, the fact that about 160 homeless people are living in Vicksburg and Warren County, serve as a reminder of what we have and what many others do not: a home.

Mountain of Faith Ministry maintains a 90-day emergency shelter and Faith House where people with an income can stay up to two years. In 2015, the emergency shelter housed 127 women and children and 35 people entered the transitional housing shelter. Mountain of Faith Ministry is not alone in their work with the homeless in Vicksburg and Warren County, and we comment the numerous other organizations working to lower the number of homeless in our community.

What can you do to help?

“We are always seeking volunteers at the shelter, and they can always donate money to help the cause — not only doing counts like this, but just help us to continue to operate in our community,” Hayward said, adding there are other shelters in town that also need help.

Let’s do our part to make our community the best it can be. It’s time to pay it forward.