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On a single night last January, 633,782 people were homeless in the United States, largely unchanged from the year before. In releasing HUD’s latest national estimate of homelessness, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan noted that even during a historic housing and economic downturn, local communities are reporting significant declines in the number of homeless veterans and those experiencing long-term chronic homelessness.

Meanwhile, local homeless housing and service providers in North Carolina reported that the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people increased by 4.9 percent between 2011 and 2012. Five states accounted for nearly half of the nation’s homeless population in 2012: California (20.7 percent), New York (11.0 percent), Florida (8.7 percent), Texas (5.4 percent), and Georgia (3.2 percent).


The Southwestern Rural Planning Organization, a division of Southwestern Commission, is facilitating an update to the regional public transportation and human services transportation plan. Upon completion of the planning process, county transit agencies will be eligible to apply for additional federal funding. The public is encouraged to attend the workshops to provide input on how to improve the area’s public transit systems.

If you need special accommodations related to accessibility or interpretation or if you have any questions, contact Philip Moore at (828)586-1962, extension 213, or your county public transit provider. Should you need a ride to the meeting, contact your county public transit provider.


Sweepstakes parlors are once again the subject of North Carolina litigation as the state Supreme Court filed on Friday to declare the establishments illegal and to uphold a ban that was placed on the games in December 2010. The establishments have until Jan. 3, 2012 to close down operations.

While the law has been in limbo over the last two years, sweepstakes owners have been able to operate the machines since that ban was overturned by the state Court of Appeals, which ruled the ban unconstitutional and a violation of free speech.


In the early morning hours of Dec. 1, over 100 State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) elves from around the state traveled to a credit union operations center in Raleigh in anticipation of its third annual SECU Supports the Troops holiday campaign packing day event. As the morning unfolded, the elves, aka SECU staff and volunteers, assembled, labeled and securely taped 5,000 holiday gift boxes filled with “wish list” items for North Carolina National Guardsmen and other North Carolina based deployed soldiers. Thirty-four pallets laden with more than 400 cases of “gifts from home” were then loaded into two SECU sleighs – two U.S. Postal Service 18-wheelers, for delivery to military bases throughout the world.


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