HARRISONBURG-- Later today, Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority Director, Mike Wong, will make a report to the city of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County about the progress of ending homelessness in the area. Last year, the city and county made a pledge to try to end homelessness within 10 years.
Wong said the numbers of homeless have been rising for the past few years due to the economy. He will tell them that progress has been inconsistent. There have been more data collection and collaboration between agencies, but there was difficulty in getting additional resources for new programs.
The numbers of homeless are growing among school aged kids. Harrisonburg public schools reported 28 homeless students so far this year, which is growing at a faster rate than last year.
Because of the fragile economy, Wong said homelessness can happen to anyone. "All of us are one medical issue away from potentially becoming homeless. If we are unable to work, and we have huge medical bills that we are unable to pay, then we all are going to be challenged to maintain our homes," said Wong.
He added that the county and city have nine more years to try to make a difference, and they are just getting started with a lot of new programs and initiatives to fight the problem.