Homeless count in Columbus
COLUMBUS, Ga.- "You ain’t seen nothin’ yet till it gets right here".
Between the sound of the train and the cold, bitter weather biting at their toes a group of people living outside wake up before the sun is out. The only light and warmth is coming from a camp fire started by someone who used to put them out, a volunteer fire fighter we’ll call ‘Joey Doe’.
"They teach you how to start a fire but at the same time they teach you how to put one out. It’s real easy as long as you maintain it" said Joey Doe, who’s been living on the streets of Columbus for the past few years.
Home for Good volunteers are taking on the streets of Columbus to survey how many people spent last night outside. The data volunteers are collecting will be given to resource centers throughout the city to create better strategies to reach people in need.
Byron Mays, who was out volunteering Monday, said he used to be homeless. Mays added that it’s your choice to turn your life back around and sometimes all it takes it to talk with the people who are going through a tough time in life.
"Being homeless is usually not the end of your road, it’s usually up to you and what you really wanna do. Me, I couldn’t just sit around and wait for it I had to get out and keep trying and eventually it got better" said Mays.
Joey Doe said he stays away from shelters because he doesn’t want to feel dependent on others to survive.
"Because I’m depending on someone else to take care of me. And I’m not that way. I’m 25 years old I need to take care of myself" said Joey Doe.
Volunteers are also informing the homeless that there are resources in Columbus designed to provide basic needs, like food and shelter, to keep them healthy and safe.
On Sunday night, Pay Frey the Executive Director of Home for Good said there were 130 people who would normally sleep on the streets slept in an emergency shelter last night. When cold nights are upon us, Frey said this is a normal amount of homeless people taking shelter.