Local organizations provide services for the homeless community

A+memorial+garden+sits+outside+of+the+Warming+Center+March+4%2C+2021%2C+in+Carbondale%2C+Ill.+Carmalit+Cahill+said+the+garden+is+being+built+by+the+guests+of+the+Center+to+remember+the+guests+they+have+lost+during+their+time+there.+%E2%80%9COur+goal+is+solely+them.+What+can+we+do%3F+You%E2%80%99re+in+a+bad+place+in+your+life%2C+you%E2%80%99re+in+a+bad+spot+%5B...%5D+so+how+can+we+help+you+get+out+of+this+permanent+spot%2C%E2%80%9D+Cahill+said.+

Sophie Whitten | @swhittenphotography

A memorial garden sits outside of the Warming Center March 4, 2021, in Carbondale, Ill. Carmalit Cahill said the garden is being built by the guests of the Center to remember the guests they have lost during their time there. “Our goal is solely them. What can we do? You’re in a bad place in your life, you’re in a bad spot […] so how can we help you get out of this permanent spot,” Cahill said.

By Courtney Alexander, Staff Reporter

Organizations and the city of Carbondale assist members of the community that are in need of additional resources. Carbondale Public Library and the Women’s Center offer a variety of services that members of the community can access. 

Gary Williams, the city manager of Carbondale, said it’s difficult to identify the exact number of homeless individuals in the city, but the number has increased over the years. 

It’s always difficult to gauge the number of homeless persons but I would estimate that the number has increased in recent years. This is due to a variety of reasons, including fewer facilities to provide homeless services and the pandemic, which has had a tremendous effect on all underserved people,” Williams said.

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Williams said although the city hasn’t addressed homelessness, they have provided funding to local organizations. 

“The city hasn’t historically addressed homelessness from the perspective of the city-wide services that we provide. However, the City has shown commitment to this issue by providing funding to the Good Samaritan Ministries as well as numerous other social service providers,” Williams said. 

If the city received additional funding from the state and federal government, city officials would have to review how the city should invest in additional programs.  

“These types of investments would have to be carefully reviewed by the City Council and staff before making commitments,” Williams said. “We have had programs in the past that addressed workforce education and employment and we have provided funding to Attucks Community Services for many years which operate two food programs for kids. We also provide funding to Senior Adult Services, which runs the ‘Meals on Wheels’ program and to Boys and Girls Club.”

Nancy Maxwell, an advocate for the Women’s Center, said the center offers resources that are open to rape and domestic violence survivors, including members of the homeless community. 

“We have shelter, legal advocacy, adult and children individual and group counseling, case management services, transitional housing, group support, emergency food and supplies, referral services, transportation, and activities for women and children,” Maxwell said. 

Maxwell said there were two offices in Carbondale, there was the main office and then the outreach office. 

“Currently the outreach building is closed, but we have an office in Marion right next to the DMV, and we have an office in Harrisburg, right next to Shawnee College. We also have an advocate, who has an office in the courthouse in Franklin County as well. ” Maxwell said.

The center is open to any race, gender, sexual orientation, and they also provide housing for families. 

“We offer housing to men, women, children, LGBTQIA members. So that’s for adult and children survivors of sexual assault, sexual abuse, we also offer services to significant others, including legal and medical advocacy,” Maxwell said. 

Diana Brawley Sussman, the director of the Carbondale Public Library, said the Carbondale Public Library offers a variety of services for the homeless community. 

“We started a social work internship program here at the library, we have two interns each year throughout the school year. They help people with advocating with landlords, identifying resources, paying for emergency services that other agencies won’t cover,” Sussman said.

Sussman said the library also offers the homeless community a chance to speak with a social worker. 

“We were probably the smallest library to get social workers at the time that we did. We still have them and they’re available, you can call the library and we’ll transfer you to them. Or you can also reach them by email, their email is [email protected]. Their phone number is (618) 457-0354 ext 308,” Sussman said. 

Courtney Alexander can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at ___Courtney_alex23______. 

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