High unemployment means more homeless in Boone County making the need for services greater than ever. One group is ready to help.
Usually a quick survey and some tips on which agencies can help them is what people get from the Boone County Homeless Project. Now instead of sending people out the door, the group directs them around the table to its Homeless Expo.
"We have been seeing a trend that is trending upwards, of families primarily, that are becoming homeless. More and more of our working class is becoming the new poor in this county and our finding themselves evicted or foreclosed on," says Danice Loveridge, Boone County Homeless Project chair.
The rising number had the Boone County Homeless Project chair looking for another way to help. She brought together groups like RAMP, Meld, the WorkForce Connection and the Belvidere Boone County Food Pantry to talk with the people who came out.
"We want them to know that they can come to us. That we have transportation if they can't get out to us. And different things that we can offer them and their families," says Linda Clark, Belvidere Boone County Food Pantry
That includes giving a family who was a the expo sleeping bags.
"They have no beds. They asked us for beds because we do have furniture also but beds never stay. So we told them that we did have these sleeping bags, cause they were sleeping on the floors," says Clark.
Loveridge says with the high unemployment more often the face of homelessness is someone you know that is now living on a relatives couch or even more common, a child in your kid's class, since two-thirds of the areas homeless are children.
"This is a new reality for most of the families that we talk to and they do not know where to go since this is new for them. And so we are directing them to places where maybe they can get help with an electric bill because their electric is about to be shut off. Or we get them help to get food stamps because they have never had to do that before. So yeah it is very vital that these agencies come together and help people that are in this situation," says Loveridge.
The Homeless Project believes the number of people who will line up for its services will be more than 100. Last year that number was around 75.
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