The plight of the homeless is an issue where some local organizations want to make a difference in the new year. Continuum of Care Coalition's Sarah Johnson says she's hopeful of developing a centralized intake site in Monroe.
"All the various agencies there can have a representative providing service for those in need,' Johnson said. A focus on downtown development has caused some homeless gathering points to disperse. Johnson believes a central location would stabilize communication and interaction between those looking for housing and agencies providing resources. "Other cities in the state where these facilities exist have shown shorter periods of time for people without housing," says Johnson.
Bill Varner, a street outreach specialist with The Wellspring, states the immediate need of someone who becomes homeless is to find a place for shelter. "We have a number of homeless in the metro area, but also, some in transit who are in need of a place to stay," explains Varner.
Johnson notes a 2014 annual count of homeless in the Monroe area came in at just over 200. For the region, that translates to about 2,200 people. She says the results showed an increase in the number of homeless women and children.