Homeless count could impact future of the city - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Homeless count could impact future of the city

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Organizers say any survey returned is a step in the right direction Organizers say any survey returned is a step in the right direction
Just by flipping through the papers, Blackwell got a glimpse at how some students Just by flipping through the papers, Blackwell got a glimpse at how some students
After the numbers are tallied, the information will be sent  to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs After the numbers are tallied, the information will be sent to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Officials with the Albany Homeless Coalition wrapped up their seven day homeless count by visiting Dougherty County schools on Wednesday.   Organizers say any survey returned is a step in the right direction when it comes to helping the homeless population in Dougherty County.

WALB News 10 went along with the chair of the Homeless Coalition as he collected surveys from some of the schools. David Blackwell, the director of the Albany-Dougherty Homeless Coalition went school to school collecting housing surveys in Dougherty County.  Altogether, 6,000 surveys were distributed to all the schools in Dougherty County.

Just by flipping through the papers, he got a glimpse at how some students in the Dougherty County school system are living. "I saw several living with relatives or in hotels," said Blackwell. According to Housing and Urban Development those students would be considered homeless. "It does reveal what we already know, there are children not living in their own home and they are living with other family members or in hotels.  

The coalition is trying to secure funding to help students and others in the community who would fall into this category. That is why it's critical that they get as many surveys turned in as possible.  Some of his visits were very productive, "I'd say we have about 75, but on some of these we have three children and others not so much," said Blackwell.  Blackwell says that each individual survey helps.

"Any survey we know is a positive step from where we were two years ago," said Blackwell.  They are hoping to return to some of the schools in hopes of collecting any remaining surveys Thursday morning.  "Tomorrow is our turn in date, we have to turn them back into the state tomorrow," said Blackwell.  

The more surveys collected means the more likely they will be able to prove the need in Albany to the state.  Officials estimate between 2,000 to 3,000 homeless people live in Albany and so far, it looks like they are on track.  After the numbers are tallied the information will be sent  to the Georgia department of community affairs.

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