1,000 signatures reached
To: CEO THURMOND, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR COX, DEKALB COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
URGENT! COLD WEATHER CRISIS FOR THE HOMELESS IN DEKALB COUNTY
We, the undersigned DeKalb County residents, believe the issue of the unhoused in our community has reached a crisis point. Our unhoused are the most vulnerable on these cold winter nights, which have been here for over a month and have a long way yet to go. At these freezing temperatures, our neighbors have a high risk of dying of hypothermia if they remain on the street. Is that what county leaders want?
So far, the county has chosen to only open three warming centers with minimal services to serve the entire county. Transportation is not provided and the fire stations now open do not serve those in the Central or Northern parts of this county.
In addition, information about the warming stations is not available in time. When we finally do find out, it’s too late to let people know. The county’s communication personnel must know that weather can be accurately predicted in advance and act accordingly.
Then we hear from county officials that the warming centers are hardly utilized. This is to be expected when the word gets out so late and no transportation is available!
So far, we have heard reports of at least 20 families desperate for help, not counting the hundreds of single people, and there will be many more. The families tell us they are sleeping on the street and in their cars with their little children. What is the county waiting for? We demand the following:
1.) Open more warming centers throughout the county with adequate food, water, shelter, and wraparound services.
2.) Communicate openings at least 48 hours in advance of freezing nights.
3) Provide transportation for the unhoused to these centers.
Why is this important?
There is an affordable and accessible housing crisis throughout all of metro Atlanta. Our unhoused neighbors are the most extreme manifestation of this problem. DeKalb County has chosen to provide the minimum of services so our neighbors don’t freeze to death. This is unacceptable. It’s time for the county leaders to step up, to stand up, and do the right thing not only for the unhoused but also for the hundreds who wait for years for housing and services. All people are deserving of dignity and respect. All people have a human right to shelter and housing. This is an urgent matter of life and death. Don’t let another freezing night go by without taking action.