DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Funding to fight homelessness in Decatur has been left out of the conversation at city council meetings. 

Advocates and residents attended Tuesday’s city council meeting, pleading with council members to address financial needs in an attempt to solve the growing homeless population in the city.

Sue Terrell says that the homeless population has increased each year since she opened the doors of Hands Across Decatur (HAD) in 2012. After rejection from city leaders earlier this year, she’s once again asking the city for help.  

Back in January, the city council refused funding to support the efforts of homeless advocates. Terrell presented a detailed application to the appropriations committee for them to consider approving up to $41,000 of funding to be included in the 2024 budget.  

Terrell says areas of concern are funding for overnight shelters or day centers, mental health services and homeless prevention.   

“I’m invited to speak here tonight just to make me stop asking and I will not stop,” Terrell explained. “I speak for people who don’t have a voice, or are afraid to have a voice, and they know I won’t go away.” 

As News 19 previously reported, Decatur City Council President Jacob Ladner said that funding nonprofits like HAD to solve homelessness is not in the city’s best interest, while cities like Huntsville have taken on the responsibility to do what it takes to help reduce homelessness.   

“We need some help from the city because our homeless live here. They are city residents, and they are not invisible and if we keep overlooking them it will not go away, and we can’t close our eyes to the situation,” said Terrell.  

Terrell told News 19 that homeless advocates in the city of Huntsville have helped her as far as grant writing and presentation. She’s hopeful that this time city leaders will at least further the homeless crisis conversation. 

Terrell says that the number of homeless is set to exceed last year’s total. Decatur city leaders were not available for comment but are said to be reviewing the application.