BY CHARLEI BAYLOR
Local community members joined together on Thursday to assist the Homeless Alliance for the Lower Shore with a day-long surveying event for the tri-county homeless.
Somerset, Wicomico and Worchester homeless were encouraged to come to one of the eight locations in Salisbury to complete a brief questionnaire about their circumstances.
Some volunteers went out to unsheltered individuals in the woods, streets and other inhabitable areas, as well.
Homeless individuals who came out were documented, given pertinent information and daily life resources like water bottles, toiletry packets and warm gloves and hats.
The Homeless Alliance sponsored this day to fulfill the biannual, federal mandate to document homelessness in the area. The more information acquired, the easier it is to help eliminate the epidemic.
“The rate of homelessness (in this area) has ebbed and flowed since 2008,” Grant Specialist Theo Williams said.
In the tri-county area, the number of documented persons who are homeless in the area has decreased almost 10 percent since 2013, but has increased by 15 percent overall since 2008, according to the Homeless Alliance website.
“We’re seeing about 1,000 people a year in shelters which is a lot of people,” HMIS System Administrator and Homeless Program Consultant Greta Rolland told WBOC. “A couple of years ago, we were seeing about 750 people in a year.”
These efforts are part of the Nationwide goal to End Chronic Homelessness by 2017. Currently the area is fighting homelessness with government funded shelters, education and job training.