the local Veterans organizations and local non-profits conducted a non-HUD sanctioned unsheltered count of the homeless within Cherokee County during the dates of February 28 and March 1, 2023.
“This is a Cherokee County-wide event and we are worked with other veteran and non-veteran organizations outreach teams to help identify our fellow citizens who are living on the street, in their vehicles, or living in conditions that would qualify them as homeless by HUD and VA standards,” noted Jim Lindenmayer. Marianne Butler, Director of the Homeless Coalition of Cherokee County, stated “We are honored to join with these Veteran groups to assist in this effort. These efforts help to further identify the acute needs of those experiencing homelessness in our community enabling us to better offer both relief and recovery services as a bridge to restoration.”
The Veteran organizations participating in the homeless count for Cherokee County include American Legion Post 45 in Canton, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 45 in Canton, VFW Post 5262 in Canton, Canton First United Methodist Veterans, the Marine Corps League of Woodstock, VET Buds, and teams from the Homeless Coalition of Cherokee County joined with these Veteran groups to assist with the PIT count.
This year in January, the national Point in Time Count was conducted focused on sheltered homeless, as we also participated in this annual count, however the national HUD report to Congress dated December 2022,https://www.huduser.gov/portal/sites/default/files/pdf/2022-AHAR-Part-1.pdf, pointed out some data from the 2021 unsheltered count that we needed to verify noted Lindenmayer such as:
· Among largely rural Continuum of Care (COCs), Hawaii Balance of State and Georgia Balance of State had the highest percentages of veterans experiencing unsheltered homelessness (82% and 81%). Cherokee County is part of the Georgia Balance of State.
· Cherokee County ranks #2 in total homeless persons in the Balance of State. Bibb County ranks #1. We don’t have updated results to see if we now surpass Bibb
· Veterans were less likely than all people experiencing homelessness to be in major cities (47% vs. 50%). Rural counties like Cherokee is where we are seeing more homeless Veterans coming to us as we have a viable program to help them
These facts along with the recent Homeless Study recently published by Cherokee County lead us again to hit the streets to find out how many are actually homeless.