On Saturday, a group of Richmond County Homelessness Partners will gather at Harrington Square in downtown Rockingham for a day of outreach to the homeless and potentially homeless in the county.
“Last year we held the event at Falling Creek Gymnasium, and believe that was the reason our turnout was not as high as we had hoped,” said Kishi Tillman, family services manager with Union County Community Action, which services Richmond, Anson and Union counties.
“A lot of the families who would attend this event are walking,” she said. “We believe the square downtown is a more centralized location, and everyone knows where it is. There were many families last year who live near Highway 1, and they were afraid to leave their things behind to attend. The square is a more reasonable distance for many people to travel on foot.”
Tillman said there are more agencies partnering with the group for the fair this year.
Some of the agencies include: Union County Community Action; Richmond County Partnership for Children; Richmond County Public Schools; Richmond County Soup Kitchen; Richmond County Health Department; Richmond County Department of Social Services; Richmond Mental Health Society; House of Fish; Baker House; Alcohol and Drug Program; Sandhills Community Action Program; Aurora Family Counseling; and Rockingham Housing Authority.
One goal of the partnering agencies is to bring many of the resources in the county to one location, so that the homeless or potentially homeless populations can gain access to resources.
The other goal is to raise awareness within the community about the issue.
“We’re inviting community members to stop by and gain knowledge about the growing problem in the county,” said Danny Hayes, owner of the House of Fish restaurant. Hayes has recently become an active member of the C. Holland Partnership Program, an organization which targets the issue of homelessness.
“We’d also like to encourage the public to bring any items they’d like to donate to the homeless community, like clothes or toiletries,” said Hayes. “Anyone who stops to learn about the issue or to find out more about services will receive free fish and chips from the House of Fish. We have the necessary tools to fix this problem in Richmond County. As a small community, we can find a way to work together to tackle this.”
“Families afflicted by homelessness or the threat of homelessness can gain access to valuable information and transition services, which can aid families in utilizing the resources available through the Richmond County Homelessness Partners,” said Eric Faulkner, with Union County Community Action.
The partnering agencies have been advertising the event with their clients.
For more information on becoming a partner or for information on how your organization can provide supportive services, contact Kishi Tillman at 704-283-1114 ext. 223.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.