CULLMAN, Ala. – Angie Young of Hope for the Homeless shared her thoughts with The Tribune on the problem of homelessness in Cullman County. In face-to-face service to local unsheltered people, she distributes hygiene items, flashlights, food, blankets, gloves, socks and other items made available by donations from around the community.
Based on her experiences, Young estimates that the homeless population of Cullman County could be well over 100.
Need for a local shelter
“I started a mission over a year ago to reach out to the homeless and try to provide them with essential needs. My goal has always been to reach a long-term solution instead of a temporary fix. The fact that last year, Cullman County had a reported 35 students homeless should be more than enough to awaken a county,” said Young. “Our county has a need for a shelter, but it is overlooked and assumed that having a shelter will add to the problem. I have had some success stories and I’ve had some that use the system or some that I just can’t help, but that doesn’t stop me and it shouldn’t stop anyone else from helping.
Young continued, “Families struggle, life happens and most of us are all one paycheck or one event away from being homeless. Some people say there is no reason to be homeless; I do not agree. There is, however, no reason not to help the homeless get reestablished and back on track. There are weeks that I may get 20 calls and there are weeks that I don’t get any calls, but that doesn’t mean that the problem is resolved, because it’s not. Homelessness is here, and we as a community need to reach out a helping hand and attempt to lower that population. I have assisted some with getting into rehab, some with jobs, IDs, and gotten some into housing.
“We need a shelter; that’s the bottom line. It must have regulations and certain policies, but there is definitely a need!”
Hope for the Homeless provides goods and advice
Young said, “I make hygiene and food bags, and try to provide blankets, tarps or tents to keep them safe from elements. I also advise them that they are trespassing (depending on where they camp); it is illegal. I do not tell them where they can and cannot stay because, in reality, they can stay nowhere safely.”
Hope for the Homeless is currently putting together Christmas bags, and needs donations of:
- pop-top canned meats and soups
- lip balm
- hand warmers
- toboggan caps
For more on Hope for the Homeless, visit www.facebook.com/HopeForTheHomelessCullman/ or call 256-733-1129.
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