Community comes together to address homelessness

Published 2:16 pm Monday, October 21, 2019

Coordinated by Homes for Hope and United Way of Stanly County, more 35 people recently attended a task force meeting to address homelessness in the county.

United Way Executive Director Salem Taylor created the event after people talked to her about seeing an apparent uptick in homeless people in the community.

The purpose of the task force was to get key stakeholders in the community together to share what they know about the issue and make groundwork to address the issue.

“It was time for the community to get together and have some conversation about it (homelessness) because it’s been more noticeable, especially downtown (Albemarle),” Taylor said.

Taylor said when most people likely think of the issue, they focus on the homeless people they visibly see around their community — such as a person sleeping on the side of the road.

But there’s a whole population of homeless people not easily visible to the community. Many live with friends or family or spend the night at the Community Inn in Albemarle, Taylor said.

Several citizens reported their concerns about homeless people loitering by their businesses during an August Albemarle City Council meeting.

Joy Almond, Main Street Manager and director of the Albemarle Downtown Development Corporation, spoke on the effects homelessness is having on the downtown community.

Almond said many homeless people tend to congregate at Courthouse Square around the colonnade.

“I really wanted to come up with some solutions that were compassionate and that we treated folks with dignity moving forward,” she said. “I want everyone to feel welcome when they visit downtown no matter who they are or where they come from.”

She said educating the homeless population about programs and resources available to them, providing them with transportation and creating some sort of day program for them were the main takeaways she got from the event.

Taylor said another meeting will be conducted in January.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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