help needed

How many people are homeless here in Payson and Rim Country?

Once a year, Gila County and members of the countywide Homeless Task Force hit the streets and national forest campsites outside of town, check bridges and overpasses and empty buildings where homeless people are known to find shelter during January’s annual “point in time” census.

The annual winter survey is part of the federal and statewide count, an accurate tally here in Payson and Rim Country helps show the need for homeless service funding here in Gila County. And on a more personal level the winter count also helps with a more immediate need: connecting homeless people with services that can help get them off the streets, sheltered during the coldest time of the year and connected with local and state services that may provide a permanent solution to their homelessness.

The task force includes members of many nonprofits, behavioral health workers, food banks, churches and other local volunteers. More help is needed with the count. New volunteers must sign a confidentiality form; to request one or ask more information about the county call Gila County Community Services staff at 928-425-7631.

Payson Homeless Initiative & Warming Center

How can you get involved with helping the homeless in Payson or donating to the cause? Volunteers provide meals and services to people experiencing homelessness; a warming center in the winter, cooling center and hydration station in the summer. Services include shelter, meals, showers, coats, blankets, sleeping bags, and personal hygiene items. For those staying overnight, a sack lunch is provided for the next day. The facility is at 601 E. Hwy. 260, Building A in Payson, 85541-4936. Daily hours of operation are 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for dinner. Call 928-474-3190 with questions, or read more at paysonhomeless.org.

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