Officials will help homeless community under 2nd Avenue bridge - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Officials will help homeless community under 2nd Avenue bridge relocate

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

On any given day, officials say there are about 1,500 homeless people in Columbus and 2,200 homeless children in the Muscogee County School District.

Those numbers are heart-breaking, and that is why the city says it is taking steps to end homelessness.

Arthur Redd, 63, is a retired Army Ranger who at one time trained on Fort Benning, and now lives under the 2nd Avenue Bridge in Columbus.

"Get in a sleeping bag and get under about two blankets, you won't feel no cold until you have to get out the next morning until you have to get out of there," said Redd, describing winters living outside.

However, because of the city's 10 year plan to end homelessness, Redd and others who are homeless will not be living under the bridge for much longer.

"While the bridge is an option, that's really not a long-term solution and we really want to be able to ensure that they have a safe place to live," said Christie Bevis with Home for Good the Alliance to End Homelessness.

Good for Home is the organization charged with putting an end to homelessness in Columbus within 10 years. Bevis says they will put up signs starting September 1 to let the people living here know they will be assisted to relocate by the 30.

During that month, Bevis says they will have a team working under the bridge.

"To really be able to do assessments, to determine what type of resources that our homeless individuals, community members need, and also looking at what shelter options and housing options that they have to ensure that they are being housed," said Bevis.

However, there are some advocates for the homeless, like Anne Johns with Billy Bob Outreach, that are skeptical the 10-year-plan will work.

"I think the city should donate a building," said Johns. "They have buildings. They have property, and if they donated a building we could probably find some contractors that would donate time, get plumbing and electrical in there and we could get a home for these guys."

Redd thinks he will be able to get an apartment before the relocation process is complete.

Bevis says all they want to do is help this community, and if people like Redd come back to live under the bridge, they will find them a home again.

"It doesn't just end at the end of thirty days," Bevis said. "It really is what is that on-going effort and continuing to reach out not just at the 2nd Avenue Bridge but throughout Columbus."

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