Increase in Homeless Seen by Wiregrass United Way 211

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Dothan, AL - The Wiregrass United Way 211’s call center opened five years ago. Since then, they’ve taken 65,000 calls, and it doesn’t look like the phone will stop ringing anytime soon.

Calls seeking assistance with housing, health care and food costs continue to pour in to Wiregrass United Way 211.

Executive Director David Duke says the latest report shows more homeless people are calling than ever before.

“You can see it went up from 426 to 466. That’s almost a 10 percent increase over last year,” said Duke.

Of those calls, 148 were women, 142 were men, 93 were families, and 83 calls were from women with children.

“We’ve seen an increase of 45% of families that are homeless and looking and needing assistance. We’ve had homeless families living in their cars with children. There aren’t enough places for the homeless to go. We know that for a fact,” said Duke.

One place families can go is the Dothan Rescue Mission, but the one hundred bed facility is usually filled to capacity.

“We’ve seen a whole different wave of homelessness. It’s new families. They’ve hung on as long as they could. The economy has not changed as much in this area,” said Chris Grandstaff, Dothan Rescue Mission’s Marketing Director.

One thing the rescue mission hopes to change is job and life skills.
Helping one person at a time get back on their feet.

211 partners with 800 organizations in the community. They link the caller to the right place to get the help they need. Since 2008, 211 has made 120,000 referrals.

If you need assistance or are looking to volunteer just dial 2-1-1. They answer calls 24 hours a day.

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