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Homeless in Hancock County a Growing Concern Among Katrina Volunteers
From: Kathleen Johnson - Katrina Relief   Filed 11/7/07  GCN

(Editor's Note: Kathleen Johnson has been working as a Katrina recovery volunteer in Hancock County since shortly after the hurricane)

Its a bigger issue than most want to admit to. Hancock County is not all about those million dollar homes that used to be on the beach.

There is no homeless shelter (and there was not one before the storm), there is no halfway house for families who lose housing here for a variety of reason, there is no halfway house for young pregnant teens or young pregnant adults, there is no halfway house for those released from prison and transported here on release. Isn't it time we stood up and admitted that this is at crisis proportions?

 Here is the picture of a place in Hancock County that is housing up to eight homeless people a night - its a pump house. I took the photograph yesterday as I was out doing a social service work call with someone from the Food Pantry.

We have people still living in tents, in cars, and gutted out homes. Given the magnitude of the problem with the lack of affordable housing - this problem is impacting even our office as we deal more and more with social service work along with recovery issues.

Where do we send these referrals? And a bus ticket out of town, as offered as advice from one source, is not a Christian solution. Most of these people had homes and apartments before the storm and were contributing participants of this community. But so many are falling between the services available.

Kathleen Johnson
Katrina Relief
http://www.reliefvolunteers.com 
(228)466-4630 (O)
(228) 344-8616 (C)


Additional Information

The Interfaith Disaster Task Force knows this is a huge issue. Local churches are seeing more and more people coming to their doors daily who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness

There is an Open Doors Homeless Coalition that meets on November 15 at 10:00 a.m. at WIN Job center on Hwy 49 in Gulfport.  They meet on the 3rd Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  They would welcome anyone who wants to work on this issue. 

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