JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS)—It’s an annual early morning tradition every winter for pastor Jamin Bradley. Today, he and dozens of volunteers walked the streets of Jackson, checking every corner, and square foot to count and offer help for people living on the street. It’s all a part of homeless count day.
“However I can help out to get involved in helping those who are in poverty that gets me up in the morning to get out and to do events like this,” said Pastor at 1208 Greenwood Free Methodist Church.
Homeless shelters are at capacity due to the pandemic, so this year takes on extra importance.Every count helps determine how much federal funding the city gets, and that funding helps organizations take care of the most vulnerable population. For volunteers like Laura Reaume it’s is a reality check.
“Especially in this day in age we are living in right now you know a lot of times we are feeling sorry for ourselves for the things we don’t get to do or we have to wear a mask or things like that, and these people really have nothing, they are living out of a grocery cart and a shopping bag,” said Director of Community Programs for Community Action Agency, Laura Reaume.
The city of Jackson says they are doing what they can to help. council members are talking about using federal Covid-19 funds to provide additional housing and shelters.
“We want to be able to care for each and every citizen in the city of Jackson, even the most vulnerable among us, those that are chronically homeless,” said Jackson Mayor, Derek Dobies.
Bradley says every time he goes out it’s an eye-opener, but he hopes this year starts the change.
“It’s hard to think about when you think about the people sleeping in the places that they do. It really wakes you up to say, we may not have all the answers now, but we need to start thinking about what the answers are.”
Several organizations in the city say they are in the process of developing and adding both short- and long-term housing solutions, and every step and every person counted today will make a difference in finding new solutions.