Tuesday morning, several organizations will finish documenting the homeless population in north Alabama.
The point in time count is a snapshot of what a homeless population can look like on one given night of the year and here in north Alabama, the count reflected the population Monday night into early Tuesday morning.
The data is used in federal reports that determine how much money the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development gives regions for affordable housing. In 2019, Madison, Morgan, and Limestone counties saw a 34 percent increase in local homeless shelters, halfway houses and people living without shelter. Last year, just around 450 homeless people were documented in the count. With populations ever-changing, Lineise Arnold, Executive Director of the North Alabama Coalition for the Homeless is encouraging people in our community to learn more about the causes of homelessness.
"I would ask that our community remain compassionate about the individuals that they see out there on the street, compassion with reason. I always advocate for people not to give money directly to the clients because you do not actually know where that money is going to go, or what it's going to be utilized for but just kind of talk to them, smile at them. At least just give them a smile, because sometimes that's all they need, to give them a sense of encouragement."
To give you an idea of last year's numbers: In Madison County in 2019, more than 50 percent of those people were men, 30 percent were women, and around 17 percent, children.