Day Shelter in the works for Albany - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Day Shelter in the works for Albany

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – An Albany group is working to establish a place for the homeless to find shelter during the day. Hundreds of people have been identified as being homeless in Albany, though members of The Albany homeless coalition estimate many more don't have anywhere to call home.

While there are shelters in Albany that provide overnight housing for the homeless, there is a lack of services for them during the day. One group is working to find them a place to wash clothes, shower, receive mail and even help find a job.

In 2009, a homeless count was taken in Albany. It identified about 400 people as being homeless, but it's likely that many people fell through the cracks.  Becky Boyd said, "We know that that was a gross undercount, that there are many, many more people."

"We are probably talking about at least in the range of 1,000 people who are either homeless or at risk of being homeless," said Tim Sweet-Holp .

At night, some of them find refuge in shelters, like the Salvation Army or the Albany Rescue Mission, but during the day, many wander the streets with no where to go. An off-shoot of the homeless coalition has formed, calling itself Destination Home. They want to open up a day shelter in Albany.

Boyd said, "This is a center where people can get out of the elements during the day, but not be a hangout, where we can actually make things happen for them."

And provide basic services like a place to shower, wash clothes, get their mail. Giving them a helping hand to get them off the streets for good.  Boyd said, "Wouldn't it be wonderful to every human being you pass on the street to know that they were going home to a warm, safe place that night. It would be a wonderful feeling."

Going from homeless, to a new destination, a home.

Fundraising efforts are now beginning to generate money for the building. The goal is to have the day shelter open and operational in August.

Non-profit organization Mission Change is already helping to provide one of those services to the homeless. They're building a trailer to take around the city to give the homeless a place to shower at least once a week.

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