Each bed of the Salvation Army of Athens will have someone in it tonight. The problem is that there will be more people than beds. The Homeless problem is getting worse in Athens, said Salvation Army Case Manager Mary Rosser.
“These minimum wage jobs do not pay a living wage,” said Rosser. “So they have to get two or three jobs just to try to make enough to pay their bills.”
When college students began moving downtown, rent increased throughout the downtown area, explained Katie Smith, Assistant Director of the Athens Area Homeless Shelter. This means that lower income individuals could no longer afford housing in the downtown area. This also affected the transportation options for those who were forced to leave the downtown area, and they lost their way to get to and from work. Smith said this is making it tougher for the working poor.
“The housing market in Athens is for UGA students,” said Smith.
Smith added that more and more over time, there appear to be two worlds in Athens: the college community, and the homeless and poor.