ANNISTON, Ala. (WIAT) — With chilly temperatures across Alabama this week, many of those without a home in Calhoun county are left to fend for themselves. There are no emergency shelter to give the homeless a warm place to stay.
Calhoun County EMA confirms Anniston is the only jurisdiction within the county offering an alternative as temperatures dip below freezing. The city of Anniston has partnered with The Right Place to put people into hotels. The non-profit organization knows this is only a temporary fix to a long-term problem.
Dozens of people waited outside Monday, waiting to receive a hotel vouched. Lori Floyd, the executive director of The Right Place said homelessness is a serious problem in Anniston.
“Averages, at any given time, 200 people could be at risk of being on the street,” said Floyd.
Floyd said she counts the homeless population in Anniston each year to assess the city’s needs. She said on one occasion, she found a deceased person in an abandoned home.
“Today, with our intake process, we had a lot of faces I’ve never seen before, that have been living in their cars, living in a tent or somewhere and heard about it and are coming because the weather is so extreme,” said Floyd.
Anniston City Council has provided funding to The Right Place to help in its efforts. City Manager Steven Folks said the city is drafting a comprehensive plan that will include a lasting solution.
“I think we’re going to make that happen, that’s going to work,” said Folks. “I know the council and mayor; this is one of their priorities as well.”
Anniston city councilors will meet before the end of the year to discuss a more permanent solution for an emergency shelter. Until then, Floyd said she is applying for state and federal grants every day to fund an emergency shelter in Anniston.
“Until we can do something about the barriers that keep them from being sheltered, then we’re really spinning our wheels at this point,” said Floyd.
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