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Community leaders in Flint hoping to raise awareness of growing homeless population

Knight, Tom
Gerry Leslie
Homeless Management Information Systems
Tom Knight trying to help "Richard" one of many homeless veterans in the Flint through his work at Resource Genesee.

In 2008, the state estimates there were a little more than 86,000 people without a home. Half of them were families.

Resource Genesee helps people who are homeless, or in danger of becoming homeless, get the help they need to get back on their feet. Instead of waiting for homeless people to come to them, Tom Knight goes out looking for people in Flint who need help. But he says the recession has hit so hard there's not enough resources to take care of the growing homeless community.

"You can make a difference but you've got to care. You've got to realize as most people do, that we have a terrible situation here and you've got to realize that you can make a difference," Knight said.

Knight says the number of chronic homeless cases has decreased. But he says they've served 70% more families than they did the year before. "A chronic homeless person, if they have substance abuse or they have mental illness can very well, very easily get rehoused sometimes. But a single mom or a single dad, there's no place for him," Knight said, "there's just no place for them to go besides family if they're lucky."

Knight says people should donate their money and time to non-profits making a difference for homeless people in their communities.

Flint's campaign comes ahead of national homeless awareness week later this month.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station'sAmplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.