Homelessness affects millions of people across the globe and many in our own city.
In response to this issue, New Directions Warming/Cooling Center has organized a number of events celebrating National/Local Homeless Awareness Month.
Executive Director Vanessa Tyus feels that many people have a misunderstanding of homelessness, and is hoping these events will help raise awareness.
“Just the awareness of homelessness and what are some of the causes of homelessness…a lot of people in their mind think homelessness is because we can’t pay our bills or there’s no money but that’s not true. It goes beyond that, and New Directions goes beyond just giving a shelter,” Tyus explains.
Homeless awareness month commences with a Jamboree from 3 to 5 p.m. on November 6th, followed by a Four Corner Can Collection on Friday, November 11th.
Tyus explains how these events help New Directions combat issues of homelessness.
“November 6th is our Jamboree for Homelessness and that’s just a way to kick off Homeless Awareness Month where local choirs or individuals come in and sit down and relax and listen to music. Then the next one is our ‘Four Way Stop,’ where they can donate to New Directions and that’s our daily operations, so we can keep the place up and going, making sure that we’re meeting the needs of the men and women that are coming in to New Directions,” says Tyus.
On November 20th, New Directions is holding a Causes of Homelessness Awareness 3K Walk starting at 3 p.m. The walk will begin at The Wells Center, move over to the Domestic Violence Center, Vet Memorial, Beecher High Rise, the Jacksonville Police and Fire Department, the county jail and then finish at New Directions.
A Thank You Feast will take place November 22nd from 5 to 7 p.m., and as Tyus explains, November is as much about being thankful as anything else.
“We give back to the men and women and the families that have taken care of us all year long, that’s our way to say thank you. November’s not just Homeless Awareness Month but it’s a month that I believe is a thank you, Thanksgiving, just being thankful for what we have. We’re thankful for what people have poured into our lives, so that’s our time that we can pour into the life of people who give back to us daily,” Tyus says. .
New Directions is also asking local churches to host a Collection Sunday on November 27th to garner funds to be used for day-to-day operations throughout the winter.
To register for the 3K Walk or to find out more about Homeless Awareness Month, you can contact New Directions at 217-473-0434.