Several community events to help homeless Mahoning County residents and raise awareness about the issue are scheduled over the next few months.
Being homeless is a serious issue in the Mahoning Valley, said the Rev. Angie Paramore, new coordinator of the Mahoning County Continuum of Care, who used World Homeless Day on Thursday as a platform for bringing awareness to the local community.
She said the annual Point-in-Time survey in January counted 413 homeless persons in the various categories of homelessness as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The purpose of the CoC is to assist in the coordination and development of service and housing for homeless and low-income people with housing needs through planning, education and advocacy.
Established in 1997, the Mahoning County CoC is comprised of representatives from some 30 public, private and nonprofit agencies concerned with the development and coordination of homeless-assistance programs.
The four categories of homelessness established by HUD, according to the National Alliance of End Homelessness, include:
People living in a place not meant for human habitation, in emergency shelter, in transitional housing, or exiting an institution where they temporarily resided for up to 90 days.
People losing their primary nighttime residence, which may include a motel or hotel or a doubled-up situation, within 14 days and lack resources or support networks to remain in housing.
Families with children or unaccompanied youths unstably housed and likely to continue in that state for 60 days or more.
People fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence who have no other residence and lack the resources to obtain other permanent housing.
Rev. Paramore said upcoming local events aimed at raising awareness of the homeless issue and aiding persons who are homeless include: Project Connect (previously called Stand Down), Thursday; Scare & Share, Oct. 31; Homeless Continuum of Care breakfast, Nov. 19; and CoC’s annual Cold Weather Kick-Off Walk, Dec. 2.