We wanted to take a closer look at the agencies that make up the Homeless Coalition that will help as Mayor Robert Reichert plans to remove the homeless and their tents and huts from woods along the Ocmulgee River.
The list includes 17 different agencies, and over the last couple of days, we've called some of them, and what we found out is they have very specific roles.
The Macon Economic Council deals with funding. The US Veteran's Administration will help with homeless veterans. River Edge deals with mental health issues.
There's only one shelter on the list, and that's the Salvation Army. They have 122 beds. Two nights this week, they had "overflow," which is a term that means they had more people than beds. They have contingency plans if it dips below 40 degrees, but everyone we talked to said there are no easy answers to the homeless population.
Andrew Gilliam with the Salvation Army says, "I mean, they're not going to just disappear. There is a need that is there, and trying to find an answer for those individuals is multi-tiered. All of the homeless don't fit into one category."
We also caught up with Macon-Bibb Mayor Robert Reichert.
"This has been going on in Macon for years -- going in trying to displace them, show up at another displace, then show up at another," he said. "That just proves that this is not going to solve the problem. It is going to give temporary relief to these certain areas where people are not able to visit Gateway Park, Central City Park. So it is a 'Whack-a-mole' problem -- you move around to another until you come up with a long-term solution."
One of those long-term solutions that's in play right now is rapid housing, and come January 25, the Homeless Coalition is going to announce that all 17 organizations are going to be linked by computer, so it's going to be easier for them to get folks into shelter.
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