Early County works to fight homelessness

Early County works to fight homelessness
The City of Blakely and Early County Commissioners have partnered together to fight homelessness. (Source: WALB)
Early County officials say homelessness is largely found in their school district. (Source: WALB)
Early County officials say homelessness is largely found in their school district. (Source: WALB)
Officials said often times, families will pile up in motels, all living in one room. (Source: WALB)
Officials said often times, families will pile up in motels, all living in one room. (Source: WALB)

BLAKELY, GA (WALB) - Early County officials said homelessness is a huge problem in the county and they're seeing the majority of it in their school district.

Right now, officials are seeking help from a number of organizations in an attempt to combat the issue.

"Oh, it's been really difficult, really difficult. I mean just trying to you know, have a place to lay down at," said Early County citizen Demarcus Spencer.

That's the story for a lot of citizens living in Early County.

"I don't have a vehicle. I try to work to keep myself going. I don't have a place to live, I'm staying from couch to couch," said Spencer.

Even some of his peers try to go to jail just to have a place to sleep.

"My mom, they're trying to find them a place, they're staying with their mother-in-law. They're trying to find them a place, nobody can find a place around here that's affordable," said Spencer.

It's not just adults who are homeless in the county.

"The last couple of years, we've seen an increasing population of kids who have been identified as homeless in the school system," said Early County Schools Homeless Liaison Tammy Storey.

Nearly 75 kids have been identified living in homeless environments, piling up in motels, vehicles or doubled up with other families.

"They're having to move from friend to friend because they don't really have a permanent house," explained Storey.

"I wish the county would step up and do something about it and try to help us out," said Spencer.

Officials said the lack of affordable housing or not enough homes to rent out has forced nearly 20 partners to come together to combat the issue.

"We're tackling the larger problem of housing in general and the lack thereof. And then we're looking at trying to have transitional housing for those who don't have anywhere to go," said Jennifer Howard, wife to Mayor Anthony Howard.

Now the county commissioners and the city of Blakely said they are making a plan to bring in more affordable housing.

Right now, they are looking for the community's help in fighting the issue.

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