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City homeless coalition expands to 30

By BOB MONTGOMERY
Staff Writer

A grass-roots effort to stamp out homelessness in Elizabeth City has mushroomed from a handful of concerned civic leaders into a coalition of 30 partners.

Unfortunately, the problem the Elizabeth City Homeless Coalition set out to tackle is also growing.

According to coalition leaders, a recent head count of homelessness in Elizabeth City found not just 58 men, women and children living either in shelters or on the streets; it also identified 91 people — 61 of whom are children — who are considered "precariously housed." That means they are temporarily living with a family member or friend, coalition official Jennifer Palestrant said.

That nearly 150 city residents lack a permanent home shows just how real the homeless problem is in the area, she said.

"Everyone needs to step up to the plate to help," Palestrant, who organized the recent homeless head count, said. "If has to be a community-wide effort from Pasquotank, Camden and Elizabeth City."

To have an affect on homelessness, coalition member Ramona Gilbert said the group first needs to look for ways to address other issues, including affordable housing and poverty. (more…)

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