A candlelight vigil was held Dec. 21 under the Christmas Star for homeless veterans on the longest night of the year. Two wreaths were placed at the Homeless Veteran Statue in Cherokee Veterans Park last night marking again the longest night of the year that the over 40,000 veterans who are sleeping out in the cold in America will have to endure.
The statue of a male and female homeless veteran is the only such monument in the nation to pay homage to the plight of homeless veterans. It was first dedicated on Jan. 25, 2019, and was paid for through donations by veteran-owned businesses and the local community, and was headed up by the Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program which is currently part of American Legion Thomas M. Brady Post 45 in Canton, Ga.
We were also very lucky to have a representative from Hero's First Foundation as well as Sen. Purdue's office in attendance and helping present the wreaths. At the closing of the event Sen. Purdue's representative provided an update on the soon to be signed bill called the Homeless Veteran Prevention Act. Both Sen. Purdue and Sen. Loeffler are in support of the bill, which will help provide additional funding and program to help reduce veteran homelessness.
The vigil was also held to help announce the HUD Point in Time (PIT) Count of all homeless, civilian and veteran, which will be taking place around Jan. 25, 2021. The PIT Count is a nationwide program which feeds sheltered and unsheltered homeless information into the annual Congressional Report on the status of homelessness and helps set homeless funding programs for the next fiscal year.
Cherokee County, Ga., has the second-largest homeless population in the rural counties which number 152 of the 158 counties in Georgia. To get more involved in the upcoming PIT Count please read the following link about the program: https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/hdx/pit-hic.