In response to this article on AL.com. Birmingham is a caring community. You’ve shown it time and time again, most recently through the outpouring of support for Bobby, who has been experiencing homelessness in Birmingham for years, when his picture was shared by Blaine Prickett through InstagramBham with a plea for donations to help Bobby with his mobility. One Roof, the coordinating agency for Birmingham’s homeless services, is both proud and grateful to serve a community that cares deeply for our most vulnerable neighbors.
Unfortunately, Bobby is just one of an estimated 1,138 people in the greater Birmingham area who will spend the night on the street or in emergency shelter. Some are veterans, some are families, some have disabilities, some live with serious mental illness. While each person experiencing homelessness in greater Birmingham has a distinct set of circumstances that has contributed to them experiencing homelessness, they all have two things in common: each of them lacks an adequate support system and each of them faces systemic barriers that keep them from safe, dignified, affordable housing. Unfortunately, food, clothing, and a little pocket change, while desperately needed, will not be enough to break down the barriers that keep people from housing.
A seemingly insurmountable barrier to housing is affordability. Low wage earners and people with fixed incomes, like SSI and SSDI, will have a hard time paying for housing without being severely burdened by the cost. One solution to this issue is funding for the Alabama Housing Trust Fund. The Alabama Housing Trust Fund would provide dedicated funding for creating, maintaining, and retaining thousands of units of affordable housing in Alabama. Birmingham’s children, veterans, and hardworking citizens need you to contact your representative to show your support for the Alabama Housing Trust Fund and to visit www.alabamahousingtrustfund.org to learn more.
Another way One Roof and our partners are working to break down barriers to affordable housing is through Project Homeless Connect. PHC, which will take place next on February 26, 2016, is a full day of services designed to break down barriers to housing. Individuals experiencing homelessness are given access to state IDs, medical care, vision screenings, counseling, legal help, and many other vital services. Your support will allow us to expand and improve the services available at PHC to make housing more accessible to those, like Bobby, who are most in need.
Thank you so much to Blaine Prickett, the curator of InstagramBham, for bringing Bobby’s story to light and to all those who have shown kindness and support to Bobby as a result. Your support and donations are so valuable to those experiencing homelessness in greater Birmingham and the agencies who serve them, but, if we want to end homelessness as we know it in Birmingham, we can’t stop there. Our neighbors, veterans, families, people with disabilities, all need your voice advocate for affordable housing in our community. They need you to donate resources to breaking down barriers to housing at through programs like Project Homeless Connect. They need you to support agencies who provide them with vital services day in and day out. Let’s use this momentum to make some real change, Birmingham, and take steps toward ending homelessness as we know it in central Alabama.