MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Within the past two years, Madison County has been experiencing a boon but city leaders know that there is an issue with homelessness that they cannot ignore.
“Just in my district alone we have a lot of the homeless shelters, we have a lot of homeless camps, and we have a lot of the soup kitchens, and I just could not continue to ignore it,” said Violet Edwards, Madison County Commissioner in District 6.
Edwards set the wheels in motion and announced a homeless initiative that will donate funds to three Madison County nonprofits that have been at the forefront in the battle of combatting homelessness for families.
Edwards says that $65,000 will be split between the nonprofits who filed and qualified for the grants, Habitats for Humanity, the Lift Program at Family Services, and New Futures Incorporated.
Tayna Rains, Director for New Futures Inc., told News 19 that the goal is to keep families together in one setting who otherwise do not have a place to live.
“Families are becoming homeless because landlords are increasing rent because it’s what the market indicates for them to do,” Rains explained. “We have landlords that are selling properties and that really leaves a lot of people in a bad situation when there’s not affordable living options.”
New Futures Incorporated will receive $20,000 of the funds. According to the most recent Point-In-Time survey by the Alabama Coalition for the Homeless, 549 people, including 106 children, are experiencing homelessness in Madison County.
“Homelessness can happen to anyone, and it doesn’t have to be something specific like mental illness or alcohol and drugs. It can simply be you live from paycheck to paycheck and your child gets sick or your car breaks down. Living from paycheck to paycheck, like 7 out of 10 Americans do, means that it can happen to anyone,” said Rains.
Edwards says that she hopes that this initiative could possibly set a pace for other counties that are faced with a growing family homelessness issue.