Volunteers needed for upcoming homeless surveys

The Greene County Homeless Coalition is looking for volunteers to help conduct homeless assessment surveys on July 31 and Aug. 1. This is the second round of surveys this year; an earlier assessment was done in February, in the midst of severe winter weather.

Volunteers will work Wednesday, July 31, from 5 to 7 pm at four stationary locations: Churdan Methodist Church, St. Brigid’s Catholic Church in Grand Junction, Central Christian Church in Jefferson and the Scranton Community Center. That same night and again on Thursday, Aug. 1, volunteers will visit area campgrounds, parks and other locations where homeless people may be from 7 to 9 pm.. A brief training session will take place prior to the assessment. Organizers need 25-30 volunteers to successfully complete the survey process and hand out food bags and personal hygiene items to the homeless.

Greene County public health social worker Sara Miller is co-chair of the Greene County Homeless Coalition along with Ellen Ritter of Central Iowa Community Services. The coalition is made up of representatives from the Greene County clergy association, school district personnel, law enforcement and organizations that work with people in need.

The goal of the survey process is to identify area homeless, which can include those living in their cars, sleeping in a park or campground, staying in temporary housing, or going from place to place with no permanent home.

Data gathered during the survey process is sent electronically to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and allows for an accurate depiction of homeless concerns in the area, as well as the allocation of available funds to specific areas in need. Identified homeless are also connected to area agencies that can offer immediate help.

Those interested in volunteering should contact Sara Miller at 515-386-3228..

Those who are at risk of being homeless, are homeless, or know of others in need can contact Miller or Teresa Lansman at New Opportunities, 515-386-2719, for more information.

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