Homes found for many living under the 2nd Avenue bridge

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - At one point, several people called the space under the 2nd Avenue bridge in Columbus home, but after a month-long program during September by the city and Home for Good, the Alliance to End Homelessness, many of those people have been re-located.

"There were approximately 10 core community members who had been staying under the bridge and we've been able to find housing for eight of those," said Christie Bevis, the Executive Director of Home for Good. "There are still two community members we are working to find housing for."

Bevis said even though they are still working to find housing for two people, no one is living under the bridge now. She said this was one of the first big steps in the city's 10-year plan to end homelessness.

John, 46, asked we not use his last name, but said he has been facing homelessness on and off for nearly 30 years.

"A lot of times it is real tough to try to get a job because a lot of people who are homeless, they don't want to hire you because they don't think you are a good worker, they don't think you are reliable," said John.

He said there are still a lot people in Columbus who need help.

"I've only been here about two years and just in this city there are a lot of different areas that really need help," said John.

Ann Johns with the Billy Bob Outreach Center, a group dedicated to helping the homeless community, said the city has good intentions, but she wants to see more.

"If the city would donate a building, there would be no question, we could get contractors to come in there," said Johns. "We could get people would donate their times and their services for plumbing, electrical. The only thing the city would be responsible for would be a utility bill."

Bevis said they will be addressing the need for more housing opportunities in our community, and the 2nd Avenue bridge project was only the beginning.

She said they will be working on other outreach programs throughout Columbus.

"What we know along the riverfront and down 2nd Avenue as well," said Bevis. "I think also in looking at how we do outreach to maybe South Columbus and East Columbus as well and making sure that we really focus on those areas."

She also said they are working to prevent people from returning to live under the bridge, but if that does happen, Bevis said they will help them find a home again.

"We are working with the city police so if they're receiving reports of people who might be returning to the bridge, we are able to go and do one-on-one assessment with them and be able to help do relocation assistance," said Bevis.

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