Homeless Population on the Rise

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The homeless population is on the rise. Right now, there is only one shelter in Dothan to help with the problem. However, that shelter has been full since the summer.

"We're seeing a record number of homeless that we don't have the space to take in," says Brad Hardy, executive director of the Dothan Rescue Mission.

Dothan's homeless population is growing at an alarming rate.

This past summer, the Dothan Rescue Mission, a non profit organization that houses the homeless, reached capacity.

Now that the weather is cold, they are turning away many people a night.

"[We need] more bed space; we have limited beds here so you'd have to go to a bigger city," says Hardy.

James Baskin is one of many homeless people living at the mission.

He says most of the residents, including himself work in the community, but still struggle to make ends meet. "There's enough talent living here to build a house from the ground up; it doesn't require a degree in economics to know the economy is slowing down considerably."

Because jobs are extremely scarce the number of people in need of assistance is growing. Rescue Mission workers fear that if services are not made available to those in need, the economy will soon start to feel the negative effects.

Hardy says that in five years, if more shelter room is not available, the streets of downtown Dothan will look similar to that of a larger city with homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks and panning for money to survive.

The Dothan Rescue Mission needs to raise $200,000 dollars to build the additional space.

To learn more or to donate you can call them at 794-4637.