DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — On Monday, homeless advocates and residents attended the Decatur City Council meeting demanding an answer addressing the needs of the growing homeless population in the city.
News 19 previously reported that Decatur city leaders are refusing to fund the homeless advocates who are the sole caregivers for hundreds who can’t afford housing or services.
Andrea Bryant is a homeless veteran here in Decatur. She told News 19 that she is struggling to understand how city leaders are not connected to what she and others are going through just to get help.
Bryant says she needs her elected officials to help homeless advocates with funding before things get out of hand.
“I want Decatur City Council to do more for the homeless population in Decatur and show them that they really care instead of making it about money and about politics and all that,” Bryant said.
Bryant says that she lost her job, home and family and says it wasn’t a choice nor a mental health issue that caused her to live on the street.
“I lost everything all at once, and a car, in a matter of two months,” she said.
Bryant and others experiencing homelessness stood at the city council meeting to ask why city leaders have been so reluctant to fund homeless advocates that will better serve the growing population.
Hands Across Decatur, one of the many who attended the meeting, was floored by the response from the city council last week when they gave a resounding ‘no’ when asked about the funding issue.
Sue Terrell, from Hands Across Decatur, noted that cities like Huntsville secured funding through money from a $6.5 million grant handed by Governor Kay Ivey in April 2022 that will go directly to addressing the state’s homeless issue in each county.
“There are grants that they can help us write and every city in the state has applied for grants through the help of their city,” Terrell said.
Terrell says the population that comes through her organization for services has tripled in the past three months.
Jessica, who is also homeless and relies on the services of Hands Across Decatur, says she needs assistance from city leaders to help guide her to mental health services.
“I basically need the city council to step in and help the same way that other counties are doing and help us where we need the help,” Jessica told News 19. “We need help to get our ducks in a row and help us so we can actually help ourselves.”