United Way of Central Georgia’s United to End Homelessness initiative has begun its work to bring together providers of homelessness support services, engaged community members, government agencies, and others to begin developing a county-wide strategic plan to end homelessness. Two strategy sessions were held on Thursday, October 20 at the Robert Train Building.
“We have too many people in our community that depend on us to make the right decision. To me, the right thing is taking care of the most vulnerable people in our community,” said Mayor Miller. “We’re in this for the right reasons. This will be transformational for our community, not 10 years down the road but next year.”
The first session included invited community members from the Brookdale Resource Center, Eisenhower Business Improvement District, Community Foundation of Central Georgia, Mercer University, Middle Georgia State University, and several others. The second session included service providers and organizations such as Daybreak, River Edge Behavioral Health Center, Macon Area Habitat for Humanity, Macon Mental Health Matters, the Mentor’s Project of Bibb County, and many more. Representatives from each shared why the homelessness issue is so important to them and what they want to see done by coming together.
“The only way we are going to end homelessness in Macon-Bibb is by working together, by sharing information, knowledge, expertise, and resources,” said Reverend Dr. Jake Hall, who was recently hired as Executive Director of United to End Homelessness. “What began with the Brookdale Resource Center providing a warm and safe place to stay has become a county-wide movement to truly address the issue of homelessness and improve the lives of families and individuals.”
Dr. Hall will lead the planning effort and sessions, and during the next three months, he will conduct a community-wide, data-driven assessment to identify the types of homelessness most prevalent in Macon-Bibb. The discovery and engagement process will involve national experts on homelessness and multiple gatherings of government officials, citizens, and primary providers.
“United Way of Central Georgia’s mission is to disrupt the cycle of family poverty. As part of our mission, we must address homelessness in our region,” said George McCanless, President & CEO of UWCG. “Poverty has many symptoms, including homelessness. In all our initiatives, we strive to alleviate the symptoms of poverty, low reading scores, lack of school readiness, inaccessibility to lifesaving mammograms, veteran needs, etc. Taking on the issue of homelessness is a logical fit for United Way to continue its work to disrupt the cycle of poverty in Central Georgia. For more than 100 years, we have worked collaboratively with nonprofit, for profit, and government agencies to accomplish what no entity can do alone.”
“We need to know and understand the types of homelessness people face here so we can find the best resources to meet their needs and find them permanent housing,” says Dr. Hall. “We, as a community, are coming together to make sure we understand the work in front of us, combine resources and effort, and put people at the forefront of all that we do.”
About United to End Homelessness
United to End Homelessness, a United Way of Central Georgia initiative empowered by Macon-Bibb County, is an extensive, holistic, community-based collaboration between Macon’s municipal, healthcare, education, economic, faith-based, and nonprofit leaders.
United to End Homelessness is committed to ending homelessness in Macon-Bibb County to functional zero, where episodes of homelessness are rare, brief, and non-recurring. It will work in tandem with the Coalition to End Homelessness, Macon-Bibb County Economic and Community Development Department, and other partners. The initiative plans to use the housing first model to create long-term supportive housing and efficient rapid rehousing to do the “most good” for those in need.
Rev. Dr. Jake Hall will lead the United to End Homelessness initiative as Executive Director. Using his background in community ethnography, he will coordinate and implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce housing vulnerability in Central Georgia through a community-wide coalition of providers and stakeholders and act as a nexus in partnership between United Way of Central Georgia, Macon-Bibb County, essential providers, and community stakeholders.
About United Way of Central Georgia
For 100 years, United Way of Central Georgia (UWCG) has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and changing the trajectory of communities. We are focused on disrupting family poverty by providing early childhood education support to families, preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and ensuring access to better health and education opportunities throughout 14 counties in Central Georgia. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable. For more information, please visit www.UnitedWayCG.org.