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Atlanta's homeless community focus of local group's mission to ease their burden

1,200 care packages were given out in hours to those at Woodruff Park.

ATLANTA — The plight of Atlanta's homeless community is once again back in the spotlight.

The latest numbers from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness show that slightly more than 10,000 people in Georgia experience homelessness on any given day. 

Frontline Response, here in Atlanta, spent Saturday trying to ease the burden on those folks by giving them some much-needed nourishment.

One of their stops was Atlanta's Woodruff Park. Vincent knows the struggle with homelessness all too well. 

"Sometimes no food comes. You might get a baloney sandwich here, a peanut butter sandwich there, but these people need y'all," Vincent said, "They're on life support."

Vincent said the pandemic hit the homeless population the hardest. However, on an outreach day, he remembers a lesson in giving and receiving. 

"I was under a bridge a long time ago. And it's called Grady bridge," Vincent said. "And I learned if you don't... if you share with folks, God will bring it back to you."

Frontline Response spent Friday putting together compassion bags for Atlanta's homeless. The drive brought volunteers from well beyond Atlanta to help. Tiffany Brinkley is the Director of Community Impact with Pastor T.D. Jake's United Mega Care Organization out of Texas. 

"We met them where they were," Brinkley said. "We were able to give these comfort kits to them. Some of them allowed us to have communications with them, and pray for them, and just talk to them, and just kind of find out what the circumstances were. And the most important thing was to just let them know that we care."

Frontline Response CEO Dan Palmer said many think homelessness is just people living on the street, but he stressed that this can include people living in motels, staying at a friend's house, or anyone without sustainable housing; which they see more and more of now.

"In 2022, we found the most families in homelessness than we've ever seen before. Fifty-six of our rescues were children who were involved. And we've never seen that number before," Palmer said.

Palmer says the economy has played a big part in that. This week, Georgia's Department of Labor released statistics showing the state's unemployment rate stayed the same from January to February of this year and was at a similar rate at this time last year. On the other hand, jobs are up. We asked Palmer why he thinks that is. 

"I think it's jobs that pay well enough to pay for the price increase that's happened in Atlanta," Palmer said. "Atlanta was growing anyway. And the price was going up in Atlanta. And then, of course, national inflation does not help anyone."

Vincent said helping the homeless population has to continue, even after the last compassion bag is handed out.

"If y'all don't come, you see some of these stores... across the street over there? They gone break in and take what they want," Vincent said.

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