Mid-South groups come together to combat homelessness - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mid-South groups come together to combat homelessness

(WMC-TV) - There's a strategic plan in Memphis to end homelessness within ten years. It's a noble goal but many people are likely skeptical.

But you might start to believe that homelessness can be reduced significantly if you watch what happened in Memphis for the first time ever Friday at an event called Project Homeless Connect.

Among those attending Friday's event was Shelita Leufroy, who was driven from her job in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina to Memphis, and eventually, to homelessness.

"Homelessness can strike any of us," she said. "You never know when it could be you."

Friday, 800 volunteers were paired one-on-one with homeless people who received basic things, like an identification card.

"It'll open up more doors for me," said Kevin Hutton, who is homeless. "People are always asking for proper identification. I don't have proper identification."

Volunteers led each individual through a maze of social services, government agencies and church groups ready to help them.

"The face of homelessness are little children," Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said. "They are victims of domestic violence. They are children at odds with their family because of sexual identity issues. They are veterans."

Peggy Johnson, who attended the event, got a tooth pulled in the Bellevue Baptist dental van.

"I'm exactly one step from homeless because I get a disability check. That goes all for my rent. So I can't afford the dental," she said.

Johnson explained the difficulty homeless people face in their day to day lives.

"It's hard being homeless," she said. "People say they got it made. They don't have to pay any bills. They ain't got to worry about nobody breaking into their house. But it's hard because our bag is our house."

For this one day, compassion Memphis-style flowed with FedEx logistical excellence.

"We have over 300 FedEx to help out here today bringing homeless through this process that we hope will give them that path out of homelessness," said Neil Gibson, a FedEx volunteer.

But instead of packages, FedEx and volunteers delivered people to at least one day of improved circumstances!

Click here for information about the Community Alliance for the Homeless: http://www.communityallianceforthehomeless.com/

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