ATLANTA, GA (2003-11-26) –
The Pathways Community Network, a United Way agency, has released the results of the 2003 homeless census and survey for the city of Atlanta, Dekalb and Fulton counties.
The study was released at a meeting in the Nicholas Transitional House in Dekalb County. It included about two dozen of the volunteer survey takers and team chiefs. In all several thousand community volunteers some of whom had experienced homelessness themselves participated in the census.
The study counted concluded there were almost 7,000 homeless people on any given day and estimated that more than 16,600 people will be homeless for at least one day during 2003.
William Matson is Executive Director of Pathways Community Network. He says the data they have collected will be made available to the people who need to know .
We're not going to put a spin on it he says. What we are doing as an agency that specializes in human services data is make this data to public policy makers, to people who run social services agencies and to the general public for use in deciding where their donations are going to go and to decide what kind of issues they want to address personally
Matson says policy makers and government officials have been very interested and very supportive of the survey.
Michael Cash is a U-S Army veteran who helped conduct the survey. Cash is also a former homeless person.
So, I was able to connect with them on the same level so that lowered the danger and so I made friends with them basically and everything went pretty well says Cash.
Percy Johnson Junior is another veteran who also spent some homeless days and nights on the streets. He described the Census experience as unique.
It was something good for me Johnson says.
Because by me being a former homeless person that has gotten help from the CWT (Compensated Work Therapy) program, I was able to relate and feel them so to speak.
Russell Carter, a former Marine says and addiction to drugs resulted in him being homeless but he says participating in the survey was an eye opener for him.
Reality struck that I'm no better off than they are. Some are out there trying and looking for hope and help. Carter goes on to say and some just give up and don't realize there's no hope left for them.
Some of the study's highlights include, the typical homeless person is an adult male who has never been married, has been homeless for less than a year and was a resident of the city of Atlanta, Dekalb or Fulton County before he became homeless.
38 percent of the homeless respondents say the use of drugs, including alcohol, was a primary cause of their homelessness.
And one third of those surveyed said they usually spend the night on the street, in cars, in abandoned buildings or in other places not meant for housing.
The survey also concluded that highest density of homelessness is in the area off Peachtree street, south of Ralph Mcgill Boulevard.