The city of Villa Rica is hoping to work with local agencies to combat the city’s increasing homeless problem.
During last week’s work session, City Manager Tom Barber, informed council members that the homeless population is continuously rising in the area.
“We have a homeless population living in the woods, panhandling near the interstate and the local Walmart,” said Barber. “It’s really not a police thing. And putting those guys in jail is not a thing either.”
He estimated that about a dozen homeless people were camping in tents in the community.
“We have a pretty active transient population because of I-20 and the two exits,” Barber said.
The conversation about the city’s homeless problem started about six months ago when Barber and some council members were discussing how they would like to interact with those in need.
“At this point, the Council has not been asked to approve anything,” said Barber. “This is just something that got started at the staff level that we’re trying to involve the community with.”
The city hopes to coordinate multiple agencies to address the problem, he said. There are a lot of agencies in Villa Rica that are trying to help address the problem, but they are not really working together, Barber said.
“The only permanent Villa Rica facility is Fullerville Mission, but they are fairly small and don’t have many staff,” he said.
Before anything can be set in stone the Council has to create a 501©(3) as well as raise funds.
Barber told the Times-Georgian on Tuesday that there is another group of people in need that council members have not had a chance to interact with yet.
“We haven’t interacted with those people to the point where we know they are homeless,” said Barber. “For the most part, there are always high school kids that don’t have a home, as well as some people who have been displaced because they lost their house or whatever their case may be. So getting us all together as one is the goal.”