Genesee Co. volunteers planning homeless count next week, impact - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Genesee Co. volunteers planning homeless count next week, impacts federal funding

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(01/21/14) - While shelters fill up in this cold weather, volunteers are getting ready to find out exactly how many people are homeless in Genesee County.

Shelters and volunteers will count homeless people throughout the county and that number means federal funding to help them, help the community.

"They did help me here," said Jacqueline Johnson, who lives at the Shelter of Flint.

Without the shelter, Johnson said she'd be in a bad situation. She and her son came to the Shelter of Flint the day after Christmas.

"They gave me a warm bed, my son and I," she said.

For her, all it took was a month to get back on her feet; she'll be going home any day now.

But for many, homelessness is their life and shelters across Genesee County want to help.

"We will have teams of people on the streets throughout the day and overnight looking for people," said Liz Ruediger, with the Shelter of Flint.

Volunteers will literally count people on the streets and those in shelters. That number goes to the feds and they doll out grant dollars depending on the new number.

"We want to make sure that it's an accurate number so we're really reflecting to the folks in Washington what the need is here in Genesee County," Ruediger said.

They'll also give out bags of soap, hats and gloves to the homeless, and let them know where they can find a warm meal and a cozy bed.

They are still looking for volunteers to help with this effort, which will be held Jan. 29-31. If you're interested contact Shannon Smith at 810-787-4280 or ssmith@shelterofflint.org.

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