Special offering for homeless set for Feb. 27


       As advocates are well aware, the problem of homelessness in north Georgia stretches well beyond Atlanta. Communities large and small -- urban, suburban and rural – struggle meet the needs of the homeless.
       A special Homeless Offering is set for Sun, Feb. 27. Funds from the offering have been given out twice a year as grants to ministries serving poor and homeless persons throughout the North Georgia Conference.
        The Housing and Homeless Council has given out more than $3.7 million in grants since 1990. All the funds that come in through the Homeless Offering will be distributed in grants. Grant applications are due on March 1 and September 1.
      The Housing and Homeless Council began in 1989 in response to a call from the floor of the Annual Conference for the United Methodist Church to take action to address the problem of homelessness. The Homeless Offering was first taken during the following year.
       The Council is made up of lay and clergy delegates from all 12 districts, plus at-large members. Council members work hard throughout the year as they pack and distribute Homeless Offering materials and do site visits to all the applicants.
      Virginia Tinsley, Director of the Housing and Homeless Council, has worked in ministries involving homeless people for more than 25 years and is available to provide advice and help to churches who are interested in starting ministries in their communities.
      The Homeless Offering grants are spread out all over the conference, in large and small communities. During 2010, grants were made to ministries in Atlanta as well as in Acworth, Athens, Augusta, Austell, Buford, Calhoun, Canton, Cartersville, Chamblee, Chatsworth, Clarkston, Conyers, Covington, Cumming, Dalton, Decatur, Douglasville, Ellijay, Evans, Fairburn, Gainesville, Grayson, Greensboro, Hampton, Jasper, Loganville, Marietta, Milton, Newnan, Norcross, Oxford, Palmetto, Ringgold, Rome, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Smyrna, Stockbridge, Tucker, Winder, and Young Harris. These ministries include shelters, feeding programs, transitional housing, Habitat for Humanity builds, assistance with rent and utilities, domestic violence shelters and other services.
     Information about applications and complete listings of grants, as well as Homeless Offering materials, are at www.nghhc.org.
      Virginia Tinsley’s office is at the United Methodist Center, and her phone number is 678-533-1379. The Housing and Homeless Council also has a Facebook page (Housing & Homeless Council - North Georgia United Methodist) where links to information and resources about serving homeless people are available.

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