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Fairfax County to Register Chronically Homeless

It's part of the county's plan to end homelessness by 2018.

Fairfax County will be abuzz next week when volunteers spread across the area to gather data on the county's homeless population. They will gather individual histories, names and will take photographs, as part of the county's 10-year plan to eradicate homelessness. 

"We want to put 150 of the county's homeless in housing in the next three years," said Sherry Eddlekamp, the South County corridor volunteer captain. "We don't want the homeless population to think that we are locating them to let the police or authorities know where they are, and I know that's a big concern for them." 

Eddlekamp will direct more than 50 volunteers in the endeavor. "The purpose is to get our homeless off the streets and get them the help that they need," she said. "They would like to have a home, and the trick is getting them into a home." 

Fairfax County and Fairfax City have about 2,900 temporarily homeless, and about 300 are chronically homeless. The county anticipates that half of its homeless population will be in supportive housing within three years.

Additionally, the county's homeless will be "geo tracked."

"The personalized data will help the nonprofits and local governments make important decisions about how to prioritize and allocate housing and support resources," according to a county press release. 

The effort is part of the 100,000 Homes Campaign, which advocates offering housing to the homeless. 

"Housing First is based on the simple idea that a homeless individual will be most successful when able to make his or her own informed decisions about housing and health," according to the 100,000 Homes Campaign website. "Housing and services are made available when a homeless individual chooses them, not as a requirement or mandatory condition. This breeds a sense of independence and self-efficacy that is often instrumental in helping individuals remain safe, healthy and housed."  

The counting will begin at 4 a.m. Monday and continue through Wednesday.  

The volunteers will have a debriefing March 4 at the Jubilee Christian Center in Fairfax at 8:30 a.m. 

Sadie Beeden February 26, 2013 at 02:26 AM
Currently I work with the homeless and have for years. Please accept my statements as being provided with respect for your effort but I think this is an ill thought out effort. The organizers of this plan are sending "volunteers" out into the field to photograph, interview and GPS the homeless. Has anyone thought about the potential danger to these volunteers -- not all homeless are nice people who have had a bad break -- some individuals are fugitives from justice, some are mentally ill --and you are going to photograph them? GPS them. Have you thought that a 4am in the morning or anytime during the day some of these people might view this effort as intrusive, a threat and they might react? I agree homelessness is a problem. However, sending naive volunteers out into the field, invading the space of these human beings is not - in my humble opinion - a viable solution to the problem. Please realize that some of these people, for whatever reason prefer the lifestyle they are living and in order to "eradicate" the homeless factor you would have to place them in a secure facility where they will stay. What are your plans if a volunteer is assaulted - stabbed, hit with a rock. In the real world this stuff happens. I do not like it, but that is the way it is. For what it is worth, this is my opinion and I respectfully submit it to you.
Seriously? February 26, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Well said.

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