A Night in a Homeless Shelter

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CNN aired a story during the weekend about a family that chronicles its struggles with homelessness and the safe shelter Fannin County Family Connection is providing, along with opportunities for the family of four to become stable and self-sufficient again.

When Stephanie Buckhannon lost her job in Georgia she moved to Oregon with her three children, Brittany, 12; Brandon, 10; and Schyler, 4. But her family on the west coast was unable to support her because of their own financial struggles. So they returned to Georgia to live with a relative until they were left in a house without water and electricity.

“The Buckhannon family came into our shelter on Jan. 22,” said Fannin County Family Connection coordinator Linda Mahan. “Since that time we’ve gotten them medical and dental attention, and have assisted Stephanie with her job hunting efforts. The unemployment rate in Fannin County is close to 30 percent, so it’s very difficult to get a job here at this time.”

The Georgia Family Connection shelter has served the Fannin County Community for two years. The local church that originally operated the shelter was unable to maintain it with volunteers and was forced to close it. Family Connection reopened the shelter in December 2008 after an individual from the community gave a single donation that paid a staff salary for a year. Within a week and a half 20 people were staying in the shelter.

“It came to our attention that homelessness was a growing problem here because of the economy,” said Mahan. “Not only do we provide housing, but we also work with families to keep them out of the shelter by finding alternative housing or assisting them in retaining their present housing situation.”

Watch CNN’s A night in a homeless shelter.

For information on how to help the Buckhannon family or how to get involved with Fannin County Family Connection, contact:

Linda  Mahan, Coordinator
Fannin County Family Connection
P. O. Box 2715
Blue Ridge, GA  30513-0148

Fax: 706-632-8165

William Valladares
Communications Coordinator

404-527-7394 (x114)