The streets of LaGrange will be less crowded with start of the city’s new Homeless Coalition.
Kay Elam, Executive Director of Emmaus Women Shelter, has taken matters into her own hands by getting different organizations around LaGrange involved in creating ways to help the homeless population get their lives on track.
“The coalition is about finding out the problems affecting the homeless community and working to solve them.” said Elam.
Elam says the estimated homeless population in Troup county is about 700 and the issue is not a shrinking problem. Most of them struggle with transportation issues, finding affordable housing, affording child care, providing food and clothing for their families, and finding jobs.
One goal of the coalition is to analyze ways to make transportation more affordable. An idea that Elam suggested was instead of having a five dollar taxi, a bus route that loops in a circle around the city for $1 per passenger would be more affordable for people struggling to get to work or other locations.
Max Riley, pastor of Fellowship Deliverance Ministry, has also involved his organization with the coalition based on his personal experience with the homeless and working to help them. After suffering from substance abuse for 30 years and homelessness, Riley started the Fellowship Deliverance Ministry to help homeless men become independent and self-sufficient.
“My heart reaches out to these men. I’m going to do all I can, even if it’s by myself.” Riley said.
He says the homelessness of many men today comes from break-ups in relationships, drug addiction, losing jobs, and problems with money management.
The partnerships within the Homeless Coalition will be able to provide what Elam calls a “funnel” of resources for these people, whether its counseling and psychiatric services, temporary housing, clothing, food, help with finding a job, and even child care in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club.
“Our job is to help bring a lot of people off the streets and allow them the opportunity to have normal lives and be able to reunite with their families again. ” said Riley.
The first luncheon for the organizations involved in the coalition will be held on Thursday at noon.