Dothan Study Seeks Help for Homeless

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Homelessness is a problem in the Wiregrass, but a local group is hoping to do something about it.

According to experts, homelessness will never go away.

However, in the face of what's an increasing disparity in our area, the Southeast Alabama Rural Homeless Coalition is going straight to the source: Wiregrass homeless to find out how the state may be of better service.

Gena Meeker\Troy University (Dothan)
Kenneth Glasgow\T.O.P.S

Troy University graduate students greeted the men and women as they walked in the door.

Like a fine assembly line they handed them bagged lunches, then sat them down to ask a few questions. Those questions could be the difference between more money to help the homeless or Dothan’s homeless fending for themselves.

Gena Meeker with Troy University explains, "We're trying to get a head count. We are trying to get grant money that Alabama doesn't get right now because we don't have a specific number and the grant money would be used for programs to help."

As part of the Southeast Alabama Rural Homeless Coalition study, Troy faculty members and students are volunteering to find out what needs the homeless have.

Monday morning, Mama Tina's Soup Kitchen served as meeting point and though there are at least 100 homeless accounted for in the circle city, at one point you wouldn't know it.

"There were a few people who felt like we didn't have a homeless problem here. But with the vast growing of Dothan and Houston County and surrounding areas, it's increasing most definitely,” says Kenneth Glasgow of T.O.P.S. “But now, we can't say it's being covered up, because it's being acknowledged."

Meanwhile, residents feel this program is a huge step to what's an ongoing problem.

"You don't know who is homeless. A lot of peoples in this city could e homeless, a lot of people need stuff and they are hungry," said Dorothy Reese, Dothan Resident.

Organizers say with the cold weather, maybe there can be more options for the homeless who have nowhere to go.

Of those 100, there are about 60 active homeless, meaning they stay outside constantly, without finding comfort in a shelter. Those who do find shelter usually find it at the Dothan Rescue Mission.

Over the next week, Troy volunteers will be making their way to neighboring counties.