Lack of volunteers blamed for low homeless numbers

Published 6:42 pm Friday, January 26, 2018

Thursday’s Point in Time Count of homeless people in Warren County by Mountain of Faith Ministries found 46 homeless people in the area, the organization’s executive director said.

“The numbers were down drastically,” said Kimberly Smith. In 2017, the Point in Time Count estimated 175 homeless people were in the area.

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The annual Point in Time Count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine funding for programs local agencies use to help the homeless. The amount of funding Warren County receives depends on the number of homeless in the area.

One reason for the low count, Smith said, was a lack of volunteers to get out and look for the homeless.

“We didn’t get the volunteers we usually get to help us. For some reason, they just did not come out. We had seven people, and three of those were from Mountain of Faith.”

She said Mountain of Faith made requests for volunteers through the organization’s website and Facebook page, the United Way of West Central Mississippi and through an article in The Vicksburg Post.

Smith said the lack of volunteers was not just a local problem.

“Agencies across a five-county area were unable to get enough volunteers,” she said.

Smith also said she noticed the number of homeless may be dropping, adding workers at Mountain of Faith, which helps homeless women, were helping less people than before.

Earnie Hall, executive director of River City Rescue Mission, which is a men’s shelter, said there has been no change in the number of people River City helps.

“We are busy. The need is just as great.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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