ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)–In Jacksonville, dozens of volunteers began the Point in Time count early Thursday morning. It’s especially important in the community, which sees high numbers of homeless veterans.
Volunteers began counting at 4:00 a.m. Thursday morning, covering all areas of the county from Sneads Ferry to Hubert.
Last year, 23 percent of the unsheltered were veterans. That’s not including those who were staying in temporary shelters.
“Our homeless veterans are near and dear to our hearts especially here in Jacksonville and Onslow County,” Ellie Roberts, president of United Way, said. “We definitely want to help them to find resources in order to find a permanent home and to be proud to be here in Onslow County.”
Volunteers last stop of the day was at Onslow Community Outreach. They spoke with folks in line for the soup kitchen. One of those folks, Craig Overington, was homeless for two months. He even spent a night in the shelter.
“It could be anybody,” he said. “I’m a retired sign painter more or less and then all of a sudden I was homeless. I hate for people to judge me.”
Volunteers used a checklist and asked folks about their living situations and any medical conditions they might be facing.
Those in need were also given red bags filled with hygiene items.
The goal, besides getting an accurate number, is getting help for those who want and need it.
“We have homeless veterans, homeless families, and mothers with children,” Roberts said. “There are homeless elderly, many of the homeless have mental health issues and we have resources in the community and we want to help them.”
The data collected will be sent to HUD and used to obtain additional funding resources over the next year.
On Thursday, the number of homeless in the county was at 20. Volunteers will continue to count for the next seven days and the results will be distributed at the Veteran Stand Down on Tuesday.