Photo by Flickr user Franco Folini
In a perfect world, shelter would be a given. Alas, Memphis reflects an all-too-imperfect world, with too many suffering days and nights — even in the dead of winter — without one of life’s basic necessities. The Community Alliance for the Homeless exists to help fight, reduce, and eventually end homelessness in Memphis and Shelby County.
Beginning Wednesday morning at 4 a.m., the nonprofit organization will lead the annual Point-in-Time Count. Required by HUD, this measures the number of homeless persons in a specific region on a single night in January. The event will be headquartered at the Salvation Army’s Purdue Center of Hope (696 Jackson Avenue).
Teams of volunteers, service providers and former homeless individuals will spread across the city, targeting areas where unsheltered people tend to gather. The homeless will be asked questions for the survey and given care packages to help keep them warm and nourished through the cold weeks ahead. Donations (gloves, hats, and such) are welcome.
The Community Alliance for the Homeless will follow Wednesday’s event by hosting the Memphis Youth Count this Saturday at Cossitt Library (33 S. Front Street), from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Organized in conjunction with OUTMemphis, Memphis Goodwill Inc., the Workforce Investment Network, Living Grace Inc., and the Memphis Youth Leadership Initiative, “Come and Be Counted” will connect homeless individuals age 24 and younger to food, hair care, free HIV testing, and other services, all in the interest of reducing the number of such cases in Memphis and Shelby County.
There are 30 locations in addition to Cossitt Library where those in need can visit for help this Saturday. More than 200 volunteers will be needed for the collective outreach. (Primary contact is Kellie Cole at 901-527-1302, x302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)