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24-hour survey aims to count area’s homeless / January 30, 2014

Officials with Tri County Community Action Agency, along with Continuum of Cares, will be conducting a survey over the next 24 hours to determine the number of homeless persons living in Halifax County and its neighboring counties.

According to Garnett Luck, Housing Counselor for Tri County Community Action Agency, Inc., the survey will be carried out over the next 24 hours, beginning today at 6 p.m. and continuing through 6 p.m. on Friday.

“This survey is an important component of a study of housing and homeless needs in the Southside region,” Luck said, noting that she feels the general public is not aware of the enormity of the problem.

She says it is very difficult to carry out the survey since homeless people in general do not want to be identified, whether they fear some type of retribution or because of their lack of confidence in help being offered to them.

Luck noted that local law enforcement officers offer good support in helping to locate the homeless, and she also turns for help to the Rev. Jean Harris of the local Soup Kitchen who regularly serves meals to those in need. “They trust her and are more open to her than they may be to us,” Luck said.

The Department of Social Services is also very helpful with the project.

The survey is conducted annually, Luck said, noting that results from last year’s study were limited since she was undergoing medical treatment at the time it was done.

“But we expect to make up for that this year as I have some 15-18 service practitioners, volunteers and concerned citizens from across the Southside region who will be surveying adults, children and unaccompanied youth who may be sleeping in places not meant for human habitation. Such places include streets, parks, alleys, all-night commercial establishments such as laundromats and restaurants, abandoned buildings, farm outbuildings, campgrounds and old vehicles.

Anyone with knowledge of homeless persons should contact Luck at (434)575-7916, extension 237, or they may contact someone with her staff in South Hill at (434)447-5060 or in Charlotte Court House at (434)542-5898.

Luck urges citizens to respond to the survey, saying “this is a very worthwhile project.”

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