A collaboration between community partners and a week of various activities aim to shed light on the issue of homelessness in Livingston County.

Homeless Awareness Week is set for November 10th through the 18th, with events scheduled throughout in Howell and Brighton. Terri Ariss, who sits on the Homeless Continuum of Care Committee for Livingston County, says the goal is to draw attention to the prevalence of homelessness in a region that often appears to be very affluent. Ariss, who was once homeless herself, reports 823 occurrences of both literal and at-risk of homelessness in the county last year. During the school year, there were 414 homeless students.

Though the data may be surprising to some, Ariss reminds the statistics are motivation for community members looking to get involved. She says the theme was chosen as organizers wanted to focus on how community members and groups can make a heroic effort in helping those who are surviving homelessness. Ariss says raising awareness about homelessness is not just about draw attention to the problem itself, but also to local resources that are a part of the solution.

In addition to raising awareness, Ariss says organizers and participants also hope to dispel myths and misconceptions about homelessness with the week’s scheduled events. Among the activities are a bake sale and paint and pour fundraisers, with a portion of the proceeds from the paint and pour fundraiser going toward a special fund earmarked for homeless services to local residents accessing housing programs.

The Paint and Pour fundraisers will be held at Studio West on Saturday, November 10th, for adults, and Sunday, the 18th, for kids. The awareness week’s main event, which includes a student art show and speakers, will be held at the Howell Opera House on November 14th, while a documentary about homelessness will be shown at the Howell Movie Theater on November 16th. (DK)