United Way of Central Georgia’s United to End Homelessness initiative is immediately beginning its work to bring together providers of homelessness support services, engaged community members, government agencies, and others to begin developing a county-wide strategic plan to end homelessness. The first strategy sessions to begin developing this plan were held at the Robert Train Building (175 Oglethorpe Street) on Thursday, October 20, from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. for invited community members and 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. for service providers and organizations.
“The only way we are going to end homelessness in Macon-Bibb is by working together, by sharing information, knowledge, expertise, and resources,” says Reverend Dr. Jake Hall, who was recently hired as Executive Director of United to End Homelessness. “What began with the Brookdale Resource Center providing a warm and safe place to stay has become a county-wide movement to truly address the issue of homelessness and improve the lives of families and individuals.”
Dr. Hall will lead the planning effort and sessions, and during the next three months, he will conduct a community-wide, data-driven assessment to identify the types of homelessness most prevalent in Macon-Bibb. The discovery and engagement process will involve national experts on homelessness and multiple gatherings of government officials, citizens, and primary providers.
“This is about helping the people who need us the most, whether it’s as simple as finding them an apartment they can afford regularly to getting them identification, job, and support services so they are strong enough to afford permanent housing,” says Mayor Lester Miller. “Each person and family’s situation is different, and that’s what we’re doing now: figuring out what our community needs, how to best get the resources and services to the people that need them, and what other resources we need to make available.”
"United Way of Central Georgia's mission is to disrupt the cycle of family poverty. As part of our mission, we must address homelessness in our region," said George McCanless, President & CEO of UWCG. "Poverty has many symptoms, including homelessness. In all our initiatives, we strive to alleviate the symptoms of poverty, low reading scores, lack of school readiness, inaccessibility to lifesaving mammograms, veteran needs, etc. Taking on the issue of homelessness is a logical fit for United Way to continue its work to disrupt the cycle of poverty in Central Georgia. For more than 100 years, we have worked collaboratively with nonprofit, for profit, and government agencies to accomplish what no entity can do alone."
“We need to know and understand the types of homelessness people face here so we can find the best resources to meet their needs and find them permanent housing,” says Dr. Hall. “We, as a community, are coming together to make sure we understand the work in front of us, combine resources and effort, and put people at the forefront of all that we do.”
About United to End Homelessness
United to End Homelessness, a United Way of Central Georgia initiative empowered by Macon-Bibb County, is an extensive, holistic, community-based collaboration between Macon's municipal, healthcare, education, economic, faith-based, and nonprofit leaders.
United to End Homelessness is committed to ending homelessness in Macon-Bibb County to functional zero, where episodes of homelessness are rare, brief, and non-recurring. It will work in tandem with the Coalition to End Homelessness, Macon-Bibb County Economic and Community Development Department, and other partners. The initiative plans to use the housing first model to create long-term supportive housing and efficient rapid rehousing to do the "most good" for those in need.
Rev. Dr. Jake Hall will lead the United to End Homelessness initiative as Executive Director. Using his background in community ethnography, he will coordinate and implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce housing vulnerability in Central Georgia through a community-wide coalition of providers and stakeholders and act as a nexus in partnership between United Way of Central Georgia, Macon-Bibb County, essential providers, and community stakeholders.
About Reverend Dr. Hall
Reverend Dr. Hall earned his bachelor’s degree from Samford University, his Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School, and his Doctorate from Mercer University. Dr. Hall is a senior research fellow at the Baugh Center of Mercer University and an adjunct professor at Mercer’s James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology.
He is a graduate of, and board member for, the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Macon program and mentors community leaders in areas of systemic poverty, race and class dynamics. In 2017, Dr. Hall received NewTown Macon’s Emerging Leader Award. He is a current board member for the Duke Divinity School Baptist House of Study, is on the board of Good Faith Media.