Groups count homeless in Alcorn County

djournal-alcorn-countyBy Lena Mitchell

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – The homeless count recently released for the Corinth area illustrates that even in small, close-knit communities there are people living in vulnerable circumstances.

Working with Mississippi United to End Homelessness, Crosswind Ministries recently spearheaded the Alcorn County portion of the biannual Point-In-Time homeless count.

Crosswind Ministries and its collaborative partners in the community reported 30 homeless people in the county between midnight Jan. 26 and midnight Jan. 27, the reference day reported to MUTEH.

Using these and other figures reported throughout Mississippi between Jan. 27 and Jan. 31, MUTEH will report the findings to federal legislators, who in turn will use the information to determine how designated funds from U.S. Housing and Urban Development will be apportioned in the state, said Crossroad Ministries Executive Director Bobby Capps.

“Three-and-a-half percent of HUD’s money is carved out for each state to use for homeless needs if it is warranted,” Capps said. “The proof of the need is in the PIT count.”

MUTEH had not gathered figures for the Corinth and Alcorn County homeless population in previous counts because they had no associated agency to work with them. With Crosswind joining MUTEH last year, they will be conducting the count going forward.

“They try to accurately figure out how many homeless we have any day in Mississippi,” Capps said. “We have to use the government definition of homelessness, which doesn’t really capture everyone. If someone is sleeping on a neighbor’s couch or living somewhere thanks to a business person’s generosity, but they don’t have a permanent home, they won’t be counted.”

People living in approved shelters, hotels, transitional housing and the like, would be classified as sheltered homeless, while people living in cars, under bridges, in parks, in abandoned buildings and so forth are classified as unsheltered homeless.

Crosswind Ministries is working to expand its already significant programs that shelter homeless people, help them train and find jobs and establish stability in their lives.

“We’ve been working with our own funding, and now we’re seeking emergency shelter grants and continuum of care grants to build more housing to expand our reach,” Capps said.

lena.mitchell@journalinc.com