How Columbus is addressing its homeless veterans

How Columbus is addressing its homeless veterans

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson says the city is making strides on an unbelievable feat to end homelessness, especially with veterans.

The 86 veterans who were once homeless now have a roof overhead, bringing the count to zero for the number of homeless veterans in the city.

Home for Good is a United Way program that's spearheading efforts to help end homelessness in Columbus.

Since the program began, they've moved 86 veterans from the streets to homes.

We talked to one of the veterans who's been homeless for the last three years and served in the Air Force for seven years during 1980s.

Nellie Harris moved to Columbus and would later lose her job, which was the beginning of tough times that left her homeless until now.

"I didn't serve this country half as much as these people have served me, that's just the way it is… I was in the Air Force but this particular program it showed there's another route to go," Harris said.

Harris came in contact with the program just four months ago and she is so excited to be moving into her home on Thursday.

This is made possible through the help of several organizations like the VA, Volunteers of America, New Horizons, landlords and real estate companies.

Harris is one of 86 veterans who are now in permanent homes, and 55 non-veterans have also been taken off the streets with more to come.

"Much of it was through the generosity of grants and donors, and these veterans, most of them have an income and it's just a redirection of how that money is spent," said Pat Frey, executive director of Home for Good.

While veterans like Harris are staying in apartments and homes throughout the city, the services don't stop there. The program also provides support to the veterans once they're placed in a home.

Additionally, Home for Good under United Way works together once a year for the Point-in-Time Count, canvassing the streets and shelters conducting a census for those without permanent housing.

On Monday, Jan. 25 those individuals are asked to come into various locations for a survey. This survey helps improve housing and employment for the homeless.

Volunteers will all meet at the United Way office at 5:45 a.m. and be out on the street by 6:30 a.m.

Length of time Surveying
Monday, Jan. 25 6:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. Unsheltered/ Street Count 
Monday, Jan. 25 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Unsheltered/ Street Count

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