Tuesday, August 01, 2017

EDITORIAL >> Cabot offers homeless help

Allen Miller of Central Arkansas Team Care for the Homeless wants to help the homeless in Cabot.

Miller, who has been with CATCH for 10 years, recently told the Cabot City Council the town needs a homeless shelter.

Although homelessness may not be a serious problem in north Lonoke County, an estimated 25 homeless people scattered around Cabot. Some are camped in the trees near Walmart, Hope’s Closet, inside garden sheds for sale, living in their cars and at Lake Pickthorne.

“They don’t want to go to Little Rock because they don’t feel safe,” Miller said.

He said the homeless in Cabot include both veterans and non-veterans. Some are transients and others are locals.

The homeless are usually by themselves, but some have families with children enrolled in the Cabot School District, he said.

“We have some homeless people camped out in Cabot, Austin and Ward areas. We are going to try and address the homeless problem in this three-city area. We’re trying to get something established here — a facility or a building donated that we can open up to get the people off the street and try to get them some help for those who want to be helped,” Miller said.

He said CATCH is trying to get several organizations to work together with Housing and Urban Development funds to establish a transitional shelter by September 2018, where families don’t have to be separated; to get them to Goodwill for their GED or job training to get them back to being functional part of the community.

He said there is no shelter in Cabot for the homeless. The closest day shelter is in North Little Rock. They choose Cabot because of the freeway, schools and jobs. It is one of the fastest growing areas.

CATCH is working on a count to find out how many homeless people are living in Cabot, Austin and Ward. The nonprofit covers Lonoke, Pulaski, Prairie and Saline counties. The group provides substance-abuse services, behavioral health and counseling services, crisis intervention and emergency shelter.

CATCH held a meeting on Saturday at First Baptist Church. Attending were Aldermen Ann Gilliam and Damon Bivins, members of Hope’s Closet and Pantry, Cabot First Baptist Church’s First Care, Feed Our Vets food pantry, Cabot American Legion and Auxiliary, Bible Church of Cabot and the Lonoke County Veterans Services Office.

Its next meeting is at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 at the American Legion Post 71, 114 N. First St. in the mini-mall.

“There is an interest to help. Hopefully, we will get more people involved,” Miller said.

Miller can be reached at the Cabot American Legion Post at 501-203-5715.

“We’ve got a problem that’s not going to get better,” Miller said.