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West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness uncovers health and wellness issues in effort to document homelessness in county


Times West Virginian

An area known as “tent city” on the outskirts of Fairmont was previously home to multiple people. It has been vacated, but coalition workers check in from time to time for any new occupants.
(Submitted photo)

FAIRMONT, W.V. — Under bridges, in the woods and in abandoned houses.

These are the places where some take refuge when they have no other place to call home, when not even a shelter for the homeless has room.

On Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, volunteers traversed these areas in search of these individuals, in an effort to offer supplies, but also to gather information about their health and wellness, and what caused their homelessness.

 “We have a homeless management information system. It’s a database for any individuals who are experiencing homelessness. So basically what that is, it’s not like a big-brother-type program that we want to follow everyone who’s homeless, but it gives us an idea as homeless providers that if I have housing services for an individual, I need to know where that individual is residing so I can offer them services,” said Michael White, a case manager for the West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness and coordinator of its Point In Time (PIT) Count.

White also said that providing the count also helps get the coalition the funding it needs to be able to serve the homeless, as this way they are aware of how much is needed.

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