Journal Gazette: Yearly count of homeless a way to help

Jan 29, 2016

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

Throughout the day Thursday, many of Fort Wayne’s homeless men and women visited the Rescue Mission and the Fort Wayne Urban League, enticed by the promise of free supplies.

Thursday marked the annual Point-in-Time count of homeless residents in Fort Wayne and around the country. The count is traditionally taken during the last week of January. Volunteers hand out essential supplies like sleeping bags and toiletries, while street teams roam the city seeking out homeless people who haven’t yet been reached. Once they reach the Rescue Mission or Urban League, homeless residents are connected with volunteers who ask them questions about who they are, their age, where they slept last night and why they’re on the street.

The Rescue Mission saw more than 250 people come through the facility between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Thursday, Donovan Coley, CEO of the Rescue Mission, said. Between 10 a.m. and noon, about 30 people had come through the Urban League, United Way of Allen County’s Jahrae Hampton said. Thursday was the first time the Urban League was used as a counting site.

Everyone who came through either site received some supplies and services. At the Rescue Mission, residents were provided with what the agency calls a Backpack of Hope containing useful items, as well as some clothes and other supplies if needed, Coley said.