More than 150 Houston Co. children identified as homeless since start of school

Homeless in Houston County

Lack of money and lack of affordable housing can lead to homelessness, and Houston County is not immune.

Houston County Board of Education Homeless Liason Barb Jhanke says they've identified 170 children as homeless since the beginning of the school year.

In 2015, there were 265 children on that list and that's not counting siblings or parents who may have experienced the same thing.

Earlier Tuesday, our Gabrielle Dawkins spoke to Roniya Gibbons. She has five children, but she never thought she would experience homelessness.

Gibbons says she fled domestic violence from her partner in Augusta.

“I had restraining orders. I would have to have my house watched at night you know just to sleep, but he wouldn't stop,” said Gibbons.

She took what she could and left.

“I had to leave with like two trash bags of clothes and just my kids,” said Gibbons.

Those times were not easy for her and her children. She was homeless for almost a year, but says programs like Family Promise in Houston County helped house her and her children in churches.

Nicole Rosser, the executive director of Family Promise in Houston County, says the issue of homelessness is overlooked due to perceptions.

“We can go to work and work with someone all day and not realize that they are homeless and they don't have a place to go when they leave the job,” said Rosser.

Gibbons now has a home in Macon and works Robins Air Force Base. She says Family Promise gave her the help she needed to get back on her feet.

“We really didn’t have to worry about nothing being in this program, they took care of us. They always made sure we had what we needed,” said Gibbons.

The organization that helped Gibbons, Family Promise, is hosting an event on Friday, September 16.

People will sleep in their cars overnight to bring awareness to homelessness and they can also donate.

The event is Car City at Central Georgia Technical College. It starts at 5 p.m. and ends 7 a.m. Saturday. There will be entertainment in the form of a musical performance by Colby Dee, movies, a scavenger hunt and food.

For more information on how to participate, click here.


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