Augusta's homeless population third-largest in Georgia

  • Follow Metro

Augusta’s homeless population numbered more than 800 adults during a census taken early this year, but those who did the counting say the actual number is higher.

Back | Next
Emily Velie, an intern with Elliott Davis accounting firm, volunteers at the Masters Table Soup Kitchen in downtown Augusta. During the annual "point-in-time" homeless census in January, volunteers collected 808 surveys, representing a 60 percent increase compared with 2012.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Emily Velie, an intern with Elliott Davis accounting firm, volunteers at the Masters Table Soup Kitchen in downtown Augusta. During the annual "point-in-time" homeless census in January, volunteers collected 808 surveys, representing a 60 percent increase compared with 2012.

During the annual tally conducted in January, volunteers collected 808 surveys from people living without permanent homes, ranking Augusta the third-largest homeless population in Georgia, behind Atlanta and Savannah.

Some homeless people declined to participate in the count by completing a survey, and others were simply missed, said Kimberly Blanchard, the coordinator of the census organized by the local Continuum of Care.

Surveys were not completed for homeless children, but 132 of the 808 adults surveyed indicated that they had at least one child who would classify as homeless.

“It’s still very hard to get an accurate count on the homeless population,” Blanchard said.

The census numbers are used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to track homelessness and distribute funding for aid.

Based on the results, Blanchard said, Augusta needs more shelters and more permanent supportive housing where homeless get help to transition to independent living.

The census collected 60 percent more surveys than in 2012, largely because of expanded efforts to more accurately document the number of homeless.

Volunteers spent one night combing streets and overnight shelters to physically count homeless. For the first time, the head count sought out homeless at jails, hospitals, health clinics, schools and ZIP codes in the south Augusta area.

Soup kitchens and social service agencies spent a week asking clients where they slept on the census night to account for anyone who could have been missed. Duplicate surveys were eliminated.

The greater number of surveys – which ask for a person’s initials, date of birth and some statistical information – does not mean the homeless population grew significantly in the past year, Blanchard said.

“It’s great to know we were able to document more and will be able to apply for more funding from HUD,” she said.

The census concluded that 140 homeless people did not have shelter for the night. Sixteen were veterans, 14 physically disabled, 29 with substance abuse issues and 30 with mental illness.

People facing imminent eviction or living in a hotel paid for by a social service agency also could be classified as homeless, Blanchard said.

Blanchard said census volunteers are meeting and visiting homeless coalitions in other Georgia cities to improve the census method.

During the count, some homeless people hid from volunteers when they entered homeless camps, Blanchard said. Volunteers were accompanied by uniformed police officers, which could have scared some, she said.

“We know there are more out there,” Blanchard said.

Comments (31) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Math-is-Useful
4
Points
Math-is-Useful 06/21/13 - 04:27 pm
2
0
Under count Rate

It is good study. Did they do Capture=re capture type analysis to find the total missing population? If yes, then how many days gap between main survey and follow-up survey?

specsta
7126
Points
specsta 06/21/13 - 06:01 pm
7
5
Invisible Homeless

This is sad news. Most people can't even begin to imagine the despair of homelessness - and most people decide to ignore it. Most people make false assumptions about the homeless, blaming them for their plight in life.

"Get a job! Stop being a bum! Stop taking my tax dollars!" is the usual mantra that spews out of the mouth of those with an icicle for a heart. I remember hearing a story about a homeless man declaring to someone who verbally assaulted him - "Sir, I am not a bum. I am a human being."

Most folks who could care less about the homeless would struggle to keep their sanity if they themselves lost a job or had their car repossessed. There were adults committing suicide when the financial markets collapsed because they couldn't handle it. Many of those same folk would walk past homeless people and condemn them for being poor. Truly, who was the stronger individual?

Million-dollar prisons are being built while America has human beings sleeping in ditches and on sidewalks. The US military is putting $2 billion dollars worth of working military equipment on the trash pile in Afghanistan, while homeless children in America sleep with rats and roaches in fleabag motels. Corporate CEO's make $250 million-dollar salaries while homeless men scrape up discarded food from behind the trash bins of America's largest companies.

Something ain't right.

Riverman1
93321
Points
Riverman1 06/21/13 - 06:54 pm
6
1
Bring Back the Orphanages

I completely agree that a caring nation must provide for the poor. Basic shelter in a clean place can be provided with all the money that goes to provide Section 8 and other welfare housing. Food should be plentiful basic staples and nutritional. No pizza, etc. Large policed, dormitory type facilities provide shelter, safety and showers yet the Spartan atmosphere gives people an impetus to improve to find a place of their own. Small children should not be kept with their mothers in terrible conditions. Bring back the orphanages for them.

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 06/21/13 - 09:07 pm
6
3
Hey I know,Let us turn the

Hey I know,

Let us turn the Old Mills into a massive Homeless dormitory?

Or hey what about opening the abandoned Masters Botanical Garden for a Shanty Town?

I am sure all the Homeless shelters, K-Center and 1/2 dozen free food banks have no play in attracting the homeless and the major part which are correctly know as bums, to Augusta.

I'll help any person needing helping hand.
But, I despise a person mooching off others as a lifelong career.

Society has had and will have a number of wanders, aimless and lazy type people. Those are not my concern. Seriously they are not, let a liberal adopt them and bring a bum home to show their crowd how PC they are.

But Families out on the street due to a job loss, illness, death of a bread winner those are my concerns and I go full bore to help. These are the real homeless.

Peal back the blanket PC Title called Homeless.
How many are Bums making a career of it vs. people having a terrible time and need a temporary helping hand?

Don't do the true homeless a disservice by mixing them in with BUMS.

In short Don't mix apples and oranges.

A parting question That I have not bothered to look up yet.

According the the above info Augusta is #3 for homeless.
But what # is Augusta-RC in population for GA cities?

Is that a correlation between size and numbers of Homeless?

Conservative Man
5578
Points
Conservative Man 06/21/13 - 09:10 pm
4
2
Not surprising....

....considering Augusta is in the top five per-capita for non-profits that cater to homeless......
If we build it they will come?...

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 06/21/13 - 09:10 pm
5
0
OPPS I looked it up Augusta

OPPS I looked it up

Augusta is the principal city of the Augusta – Richmond County Metropolitan Statistical Area, which as of 2010 had an estimated population of 556,877, making it the third-largest city and the second-largest metro area in the state after Atlanta.

So there is a numerical correlation

Conservative Man
5578
Points
Conservative Man 06/21/13 - 09:19 pm
4
2
Statistically speaking...

...Yes.
Augusta is the second largest metro area in Ga. which means that we will have most statistics reflect this.....
Given this fact my earlier post should be clarified.
Augusta is in the top five per-capita NATIONALLY for non-profits that cater to the homeless....is THIS a statistic we should be proud of?...

countyman
21623
Points
countyman 06/21/13 - 09:46 pm
2
6
Population

Nocnoc.. Richmond County is the second largest county outside of metro Atlanta. Columbus is consolidated with the entirety of Muscogee County, and recently became the second largest city in the 2012 estimate.

Chatham County(Savannah) is the largest county outside of metro Atlanta.

Darby
29191
Points
Darby 06/22/13 - 12:23 am
5
3
"Something ain't right."

Yes, and I'm guessing that a large part of what "ain't" right are the poor decisions that people make which lead them to a life on the streets.

In the "good old days" folks, family and social organizations would take these folks in, find them work, provide food and shelter, etc. Not so much any more, due primarily to the conditioning done by the liberal wing of the government.

Conditioning that makes it clear that it's taxes and the government whose mission it is to solve all social problems. (While building a reliable voter base.)

Burdened with trying to make ends meet while facing greater taxes and more and more responsibility, people have become increasingly inclined to shrug off those social challenges and defer to the omnipotent and ever growing government.

Pointing fingers and blaming CEO's for making too much money is nothing more than a slothful attempt to find an "easy" explanation for a problem government has created.

A problem that will be with us as long as government refuses to face the fact that it has limitations.

CARROTSABROAD
79
Points
CARROTSABROAD 06/22/13 - 02:42 am
8
0
No Surprise
Unpublished

Why is it shocking that the second biggest city in Georgia has the third highest homeless population?

corgimom
38275
Points
corgimom 06/22/13 - 05:20 am
6
0
You have more homeless

You have more homeless because of the explosion of drug use and the huge number of people that have been convicted of felonies.

Back in the "old days", as Darby wants to put it, there were lots and lots of farms, and it was easy for someone to find a place to stay. There were many manual labor jobs. Those jobs are gone.

justthefacts
24947
Points
justthefacts 06/22/13 - 06:39 am
8
3
Priorities

The #1 reason for homelessness is the lack of jobs. But, I am sure our President is going to get around to that soon. After all, he said he would.

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 06/22/13 - 07:06 am
3
0
COUNTYMAN - My source of my

COUNTYMAN - My source of my presented facts is........

Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusta,_Georgia

I did a Cut and Paste and bold of the area which I did.

example:
Augusta is the principal city of the Augusta – Richmond County Metropolitan Statistical Area, which as of 2010 had an estimated population of 556,877, making it the third-largest city and the second-largest metro area in the state after Atlanta. It is the 116th-largest city in the United States. Internationally, Augusta is best known for hosting The Masters Tournament in golf each spring.

It is possible you have better information and here is the link to submit updates and corrections.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Contact_us_-_Subjects

soapy_725
44107
Points
soapy_725 06/22/13 - 07:08 am
1
0
The homeless have a national network. Word of mouth,
Unpublished

They know here and when to go to certain cities. Also, the folks who are collecting data for HUD, of all things, are being paid for their services. Their jobs depend on increasing numbers of homeless.

soapy_725
44107
Points
soapy_725 06/22/13 - 07:09 am
1
0
HUD surveyers make aliving off of t he homeless count.
Unpublished

If there are fewer homeless, many organizations that feed on Federal Grants will be out of a job.

soapy_725
44107
Points
soapy_725 06/22/13 - 07:10 am
1
0
Colorado Springs has a tent camp of 2000+.
Unpublished

Beside Interstate 25. A major problem.

soapy_725
44107
Points
soapy_725 06/22/13 - 07:26 am
1
0
Nationally it is known for Fort Gordon
Unpublished

Most Americans relate Augusta GA to Fort Gordon. They have been stationed or know someone who has been stationed in Augusta GA.

countyman
21623
Points
countyman 06/22/13 - 10:04 am
1
3
Augusta

Nocnoc. Your information taken from the Wiki page is correct. Please don't confuse the city populations with the county or metro populations. Augusta is the third largest city, and second largest county and metro.

City
Columbus
Augusta
Savannah

County
Savannah
Augusta
Columbus

Metro
Augusta
Savannah
Columbus

Carrots abroad. Augusta is not the 2nd largest city anymore, and never was really in the true sense. Columbus is consolidated with the entire county, and became the 2nd largest city in the 2012 estimate.

Darby
29191
Points
Darby 06/22/13 - 10:22 am
3
0
"Back in the "old days", as Darby wants to

put it, there were lots and lots of farms, and it was easy for someone to find a place to stay. There were many manual labor jobs. Those jobs are gone."

.
Yeah, right... people in need of work or shelter hitchhiked to the rustic countryside and went from farm to farm looking for a job.

Trying to picture that..... Nope, doesn't work for me. For that matter, we seem to have a cottage industry going here by eleven or twelve million folks that was built on door to door landscaping. They've done alright.

People who really want work and really need the money, will find an honest way to get both.

There's an old saying, that "A man's reach should exceed his grasp." It means that a person should always try to do more than he may be capable of. That way, although you may fail, you may also attain things you never dreamed you could.

That does not, and should not apply to a government dependent on the resources of individual citizens for it's finances.

Outside of a state of war, where failure is not a viable alternative, it's a reckless prescription for national bankruptcy.

Government should and, if we are to survive, MUST recognize it's limitations.

GnipGnop
12744
Points
GnipGnop 06/22/13 - 11:45 am
5
0
Guess Countyman was right

Lots of people are flocking to Augusta!!!

corgimom
38275
Points
corgimom 06/22/13 - 01:57 pm
3
0
Darby, you may not be able to

Darby, you may not be able to picture it, but yes, that's exactly the way it was. They would come to a town and start asking who was looking to hire help. Because in any farm town, there is always somebody who needs a hired hand.

And they got there in various ways. Walked. Rode a horse or mule. Hitched a ride with someone. Rode on a train until their money ran out.

corgimom
38275
Points
corgimom 06/22/13 - 03:06 pm
1
3
"People who really want work

"People who really want work and really need the money, will find an honest way to get both. "

Well, let's see, let's say that there are 50,000 workers in Augusta. And the unemployment rate is 8%, roughly speaking. Do you mean to say that you think there are 4,000 job openings in Augusta that are not currently being filled?

corgimom
38275
Points
corgimom 06/22/13 - 03:07 pm
1
3
And then there's the 23%

And then there's the 23% poverty rate in Augusta, let's add another 5,000 to that unemployment figure. Do you think that there are 9,000 jobs in Augusta that need to be filled?

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 06/22/13 - 05:56 pm
2
1
Deke?

Will Deke do a press release about this I wonder?

I mean we have the highest infant/maternity mortality rate, highest unemployment and now this! I mean at least we are the best at something right?

corgimom
38275
Points
corgimom 06/22/13 - 03:54 pm
2
2
"Soup kitchens and social

"Soup kitchens and social agencies"- all they needed to do was go down Broad St, Greene St, Harrisburg, and under the 5th and 13th St bridges, they would've gotten a far more accurate count and counted more people

Harrisburg alone would've netted them higher figures

corgimom
38275
Points
corgimom 06/22/13 - 03:54 pm
2
1
Highest rate of STD's and

Highest rate of STD's and AIDS, highest rate of teen pregnancy in Georgia, Brad, don't forget that too

And a poverty rate higher than the state as a whole

corgimom
38275
Points
corgimom 06/22/13 - 06:34 pm
1
2
It is predicted that the

It is predicted that the numbers will increase after June 30th, when the Federal extended unemployment benefits end.

countyman
21623
Points
countyman 06/22/13 - 07:43 pm
1
4
False information

More false statements related to the city of Augusta. One of the highest and being ranked #1 are two different things. Augusta doesn't have the highest unemployment, pregnancy, etc rate in Georgia.

Augusta is not even close to having the highest unemployment with the number of rural counties in this state.

corgimom
38275
Points
corgimom 06/22/13 - 08:25 pm
2
1
Oh, yes, Countyman, Augusta

Oh, yes, Countyman, Augusta most certainly does have the highest teen rate of pregnancy. And nobody has said one word about having the highest unemployment, you are flat out saying false things yourself.

Please point out the post that says that Augusta has the highest rate of unemployment, nobody is saying that except for you, Countyman.

Riverman1
93321
Points
Riverman1 06/22/13 - 08:26 pm
4
0
The Master's Table Soup

The Master's Table Soup Kitchen is a tremendous asset to downtown Augusta.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs