The concept of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through organized efforts or Public Health is essential to the growth and sustainability of every community. In communities across the country including Fort Smith, Arkansas, the population of individuals that are living as unsheltered homeless is rising. They live on the fringe of the community and often exist without needed treatment for physical and mental health conditions impacting their ability to enjoy a fully engaged life.
Throughout the years a number of community organizations and non-profit groups have worked to care for and prevent homelessness in Fort Smith providing assistance that would otherwise not be provided. Their efforts helped to slow the growth of the homeless population and provide relief to those in need, but a cohesive effort between these organizations, the city government, and the business community could produce powerful results. This Community Action Plan is designed to bring those groups together to significantly reduce the homeless population of Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Along the Arkansas River near Downtown Fort Smith, a short detour off the walking trails will lead you to what is commonly referred to as North Camp. This is one of a few locations where the 92 reported “unsheltered” homeless of Fort Smith, Arkansas spend their days and nights. Each year a point-in-time survey is conducted across the Arkansas River Valley to monitor the growth and needs of this vulnerable population and to appropriate respond to changes. The 2015 survey revealed that although homelessness overall is decreasing in the area from 185 in 2014 to 179 in 2015, the unsheltered homeless population gre...
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...mployment location resources and partnerships with the business community will be helpful in identifying appropriate jobs.
Prevention of chronic homelessness and unsheltered homeless require a comprehensive plan that provides a home first, but also addresses the multitude of other health, safety and economic challenges that contribute to this vulnerable segment of our community. Identifying those individuals that are most likely to become homeless such as young people aging out of foster care and adults with frequent brushes with emergency rooms and jails will help to ensure they receive appropriate support before becoming homeless. The Riverview Hope Campus will provide housing, security, health and assistance to those in need and educate the community to generate compassion and understanding that will ensure funds are available to support those that need it most.
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