Jackson County residents came together in October for a fundraiser supporting efforts against homelessness
by Olivia Bower
Jackson County approaches homelessness in a different way by acknowledging the problem and working to solve it, as evidenced by an Oct. 1 fundraiser.The idea for the fundraiser, the first ever “Hope for the Homeless” organized by JacksonCounty Homelessness Committee (JCHC), was born out of Jackson County residents’ continued support, after other successful events were held in the community.
For example, one event last year called “Cardboard City” involved a group of Girl Scouts sleeping under cardboard in a nearby park to simulate homelessness and raise awareness about the homeless population in the county. Such tactics inspire area residents such as fundraiser attendee Sherry Williams, of Oak Hill, to become involved and invested in JCHC’s future. “It’s definitely something to grow in,” she says.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Development’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report, Ohio had 11,182 homeless people in 2015, representing an increase of 10percent since 2007, the fourth largest increase in the country. In larger cities like Columbus orCleveland, homelessness is often publicly observable, for example, seeing people sleeping under bridges or panhandling. But homelessness also exists in smaller, rural communities, says JCHCExecutive Director Laura Fain, manifest by people sleeping in tents in the woods, or in their cars,or couch surfing at relatives’ or friends’ homes.