Lee County officals speak on homelessness in the area

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 6:24 PM EST
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LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM) - In this holiday season, homelessness continues to plague parts of East Alabama. Local leaders in Lee County want to create solutions.

Mayor Gary Fuller says the county recognizes the homelessness after recently receiving calls from residents about needing help. He says right now, they have resources, but a building to house some residents is a need in Lee County.

Officials in Lee County met last week to discuss different solutions to helping those homeless people and families get back on their feet.

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller said city leaders are in search of someone to step up to conduct a plan on where a housing shelter will be located, a budget and more resources. He says they also want to provide help in finding jobs for those individuals.

“How do we sustain it; how do we make it an ongoing resource for folks who don’t have a place to live,” said Mayor Fuller.

Over the phone, I spoke with One Voice shelter Director Ashleigh Causey who said right now they have a women’s shelter in Opelika that provides 14 beds. However, since the pandemic in 2020, the shelter has received even more calls from men, women and families requesting places to stay. As a result, Causey said the organization is in the process of opening a family and men’s shelter.

“If we can’t get them in with us, there are resources, but there aren’t many resources, so we always cant refer them out to another program. That’s been a struggle. So, we’re working on getting the family shelter open,” said Causey.

Causey said One Voice is strictly donation based, and with the increase in homelessness, Lee County officials’ support for a new shelter could significantly impact.

“To be able to have somewhere for more people to go, it’s such a needed thing to be able to have that and to be able to have the funding to keep it going,” said Causey.

Mayor Fuller said local leaders acknowledge the problem and want to figure out the best plan possible for those in need.

“What you want the end result to be, so I think that’s where we are,” said Mayor Fuller.