Initiative aims to raise awareness of homeless

Despite pervasive affluence, more than a thousand people in Chester County sought emergency shelter last year, and more than half of them, including families with children, had to be turned away.

Such somber statistics formed the basis for an activity that will mark the local observance of National Hunger and Awareness Week, which runs from Nov. 13 to Nov. 19. Decade to Doorways, the county’s 10-year plan to prevent and end homelessness, is looking for volunteers to spread awareness of the problem on Thursday, Nov. 17.

The diverse faces of the homeless can range from a family with a parent who loses a job and can no longer afford housing to a recent college graduate unable to find employment that leads to self-sufficiency to a veteran who returned home and experienced obstacles re-entering society, according to county officials.

The staff of Decade to Doorways, a collaboration of consumers, government entities, service providers, educators, healthcare practitioners, faith communities, and more, hopes that the Nov. 17 initiative will get more people involved in reversing the statistics.

Volunteers will fan out across the county from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in a show of solidarity with individuals, families, and children experiencing homelessness. They will stand on street corners in high-traffic areas and display placards with data such as: 154 children under 5 years old experienced homelessness last year in Chester County; on June 22, 43 people between the ages of 8 and 72 slept outside in Chester County; or 50 families are presently homeless and waiting for shelter in Chester County.

Volunteers will assemble on Nov. 16 between 4 and 6 p.m. in room 171 of the Government Services Center, 601 Westtown Road in West Chester, to receive handouts that can be distributed during the event. Anyone interested in participating can register here.



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