Local agencies that are part of the Calhoun County Homeless Coalition today are releasing community statistics, during the annual Homeless Health Fair and VA Stand Down.
The coalition is comprised of about 20 community organizations, including the City of Battle Creek. The health fair is today until 1 p.m., hosted for the third year at Full Blast, 35 Hamblin Ave.
More than 500 homeless and formerly homeless neighbors are expected to attend today’s event, which offers health care screenings, haircuts, meals and groceries, and giveaways of needed items.
According to The Coordinating Council of Calhoun County, there were 1,190 literally homeless people in Calhoun County in 2016. An individual or family is “literally homeless” when they lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, meaning they have a primary residence that is a public or private place not meant for human habitation, or are living in a public or private shelter.
Of those, 214 were seniors, age 55 or older; 205 were veterans; and 381 were in families. Of the family households, 66 percent were female single parents.
Matthew Lynn, director of community impact for the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, said today’s health fair is an opportunity to bring more awareness to the fact that homelessness is a point of focus in our local communities, not just a global challenge.
“Locally, we know that 1,190 people living in Calhoun County are impacted by homelessness,” Lynn said. “We also know that 15 percent of the population are living in poverty, and four out of every 10 households in the county are not financially stable, with individuals and families living constantly at risk of becoming homeless.
“The health fair brings together a variety of local organizations and service providers, working collaboratively to engage with and provide essential care items and basic needs services to some of our community’s most vulnerable residents. We are fortunate to have great partners working together through the Homeless Coalition to ensure the work to address challenges with homelessness does not stop with one event, but is ongoing, coordinated, and focused on collective action.”
In the last two years, a majority of Homeless Health Fair attendees were ages 51 to 60. Most were men, a majority were white, and a vast majority were not employed. About half of attendees were veterans, and a majority reported having a disability.
More information is on the attached homelessness fact sheet from The Coordinating Council. TCC is a collaborative of community agencies working to positively impact the lives of all people in Calhoun County.