Homeless numbers up in Durham

March 11, 2010 10:23:20 AM PST
The latest count of homeless people in Durham indicates the number of people without a home in the Bull City is on the rise with a 26 percent increase from last year.

The economy and recession are just two reasons that explain the increase.

Many of Durham's homeless live in shelters, like the Durham Urban Ministries, while others are unsheltered.

Durham is not alone with this growing problem. It's a trend across the country.

The people living in shelters are just some of the faces of Durham's homeless.

"It is a big problem," said Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden and chair of The Durham Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. "It's a growing problem."

At the end of January, the The Durham Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness went to shelters and the streets of Durham to get a count of those living without a home.

Click here for more details about the plan

In 2009, 535 homeless people were counted in Durham. This year 675 were counted.

"I was on a conference call with mayors from all over the city on Tuesday and they're all experiencing the same problem," Cole-McFadden said. "There is an increase."

But Michael Kelly, who used to be homeless, isn't discouraged by the numbers.

"I was actually living in the woods," Kelly told ABC11 Eyewitness News. "The fact is the continuum of care is in place and the process does work."

Kelly offers encouragement to others in the position he was once in and gives suggestions to city leaders who are working to tackle the problem.

"As I said, we have to take affirmative steps, affirmative, think outside the box," Cole-McFadden said.

Kelly agrees in an affirmative approach.

"There is hope for those people," he said.

The results of the homeless count will be reported to local and state agencies.

The findings could be used to help determine how funds are distributed and in turn create programs that combat the problem.

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