The homeless population are regulars on the streets and in the churches in Augusta. Many are out there due to mental illness. Many have trouble with alcohol and/or drugs. Many have a litany of hardships and challenges, some self inflicted issues though many just can't seem to get their lives together. All have a story. And, as is true in most communities, our homeless neighbors are a mix of those who consistently stay in shelters, some who sleep out on the streets or have a self made home in some location, and many others who will never be found in a shelter but who stay with family or friends and drift from place to place.
A recent article in the Augusta Chronicle said:
"The latest count of Augusta's homeless population shows a slight increase from last year, but those who made the census say the tally could be low because it was taken during a warm night."
"I bet you if we did this last night when it was freezing cold it would have been a different number," said Lynda Suarez, the research chairwoman for the Augusta Continuum of Care, a local data-gathering committee involved in the effort. "
"It was relatively comfortable (the night of the count), and when that happens there are homeless people you can't find," she said Friday.
"This year's count, which took place in late January, focused on a single night at shelters and soup kitchens. It documented 551 homeless, six more than a year ago. Last year's count was conducted in colder weather, Ms. Suarez said."
AUGUSTA'S HOMELESS BY THE NUMBERS*
Mentally ill with one diagnosed illness: 77
Medical disability: 39
Domestic violence victims: 34
Chronically homeless: 142 (134 men, 8 women)
Those not sheltered (in a tent, car or on a sidewalk): 48
Substance abuse: 165
Dually diagnosed with two mental illnesses: 64
Source: Lynda Suarez, the research chairwoman for the Augusta Continuum of Care, a local data-gathering committee
full story @ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2009/02/07/met_510570.shtml