RACINE — Car show enthusiasts who travel to Racine this weekend will not only have the chance to browse the fine selection of vehicles to be shown at the Kountry Resort Campground in Meigs County, but will also be able to donate to a worthy cause — helping to provide shelter for homeless adults and children in the region.
The car show fundraiser that will be held from 10 a.m.-4p.m. on Saturday, September 15 at the campground located on Resort Road in Racine is being organized by the Gallia-Jackson-Meigs-Vinton Continuum of Care (COC).
In addition to the car show, the event to “drive out homelessness” will feature a silent auction, and activities for kids and music by McCabe Entertainment.
All proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward programs for homeless adults and children.
The (COC) is the housing consortium for the four counties it serves in southeastern Ohio. The organization has many community service agencies that work together as a supportive network to address issues of homelessness.
According to organizers, within southeastern Ohio, individuals face high poverty rates, lack of employment opportunities, lack of affordable housing, lack of transportation, low high school graduation rates and limited resources and the homeless of these counties often find refuge with family or friends. This temporary shelter is often inadequate and over-crowded. Sometimes families find shelter in a camper or abandoned building with no electricity, heat, or water.
According to Melissa Kimmel, Executive Director of the Serenity House in Gallipolis and co-chair of the COC, despite what many people may think, homelessness is a problem in the four-county area..
“Many people question the existence of homeless people in our area. They are here, they just do not look like we expect homeless people to look,” Kimmel stated. “Instead of sleeping in the streets, they are sleeping on couches, in tents, in barns, in campers, or other places.”
Studies indicate that seven percent to 11 percent of any rural population is homeless and that the rate of homelessness in rural areas often exceeds rates of homeless in urban and suburban counties.
According to information provided by Kimmel, the primary cause of homelessness is poverty. The second most common reason for homelessness is lack of affordable housing. Other contributors to homelessness include limited financial resources on a community level, a lack of public transportation, geographic isolation from jobs and resources, and a limited number of programs to address the issues in local communities.
In recent studies, it was found that 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck. In 2010, 14.8 percent of Americans lived in food insecure households and more than 40 percent of employed Americans are working in service sector jobs which are generally low paying positions.
According to the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), “families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care.”
In our area most people who rent in the four county area will pay between $300 and $750 a month. At $500, a person or family would need a net monthly income of $1,667 (more than $11 per hour at 40 hours a week) to meet the 30 percent suggestion.
Using these numbers and census information, nearly 40 percent of those living in our area cannot afford a two bedroom apartment.