Homelessness in the Fox Cities
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Clusters of food and drink garbage can be indicators of a temporary shelter area.
Contributor: Tony Gonzalez, Vice President of Community Development at United Way Fox Cities
I recently participated in our community's Point in Time Count, a program where local housing organizations conduct a "count" to identify the number of homeless individuals in our community. This was an eye-opening experience as I witnessed signs of homelessness in areas of our community. The overpass pictured here is a place that I have driven over countless times since I moved to the Fox Cities in 1992. Until now, I did not realize that people call this space home. Very commonly, homeless individuals turn to chemical use to cope with their challenges. The purpose behind this "count" is to engage with people and connect them with treatment and resources to deal with these challenges. This count revealed the number of homeless people in the Fox Cities increasing from 301 in 2012 to 348 in 2013.
People from all socio-economic backgrounds in the Fox Cities have faced homelessness for a multitude of reasons…job loss, medical care expenses, etc. …it can happen to anyone. According to the Emergency Shelter of the Fox Valley, more and more people have needed shelter over the past several years. Many of these people simply can't maintain affordable housing due to their low-income.
To learn more about homelessness or participate in the point in time count, contact the Emergency Shelter of the Fox Valley at 920-734-9192 or www.emergencyshelterfoxvalley.org.