On Tuesday, the Marion County Coalition to End Homelessness met with a few goals in mind. Its members say the community needs to rethink the way to get people off the streets.
Group members said the "Housing First" initiative, which would focus on putting a roof above the heads of those struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, would actually save local hospitals money and taxpayer dollars.
"Even if you do drink too much, or if you're a drug addict, living on the streets is not going to help that. They're not having any way to pay for that, so the hospital has to absorb the cost. [The initiative will] cut that down because they're having the same risk factors as they do in the street," said Gena Wagaman of the Marion County Coalition to End Homelessness.
Wagaman said the group hopes to gather community support so it can obtain funding for the cause. In the mean time, it's collecting various items for the "Winter Survival Kit" program, including gloves, hats, blankets, jackets, hygiene items, and more.
You can find out more about the group on its Facebook page.