A national count of the homeless was conducted Monday evening and early Tuesday morning. That count included every bridge, field and alley in Rutherford County. Volunteers in the Murfreesboro area started at Hippie Hill, on the outskirts of the county and worked their way into the Murfreesboro City Limits. Volunteers also ventured into LaVergne and Smyrna in search of those who are without a home.
A huge percentage of those who are homeless were sexually abused or physically abused as a child. Many of those who were counted Monday night and into the early hours of Tuesday morning told volunteers they have mental illnesses such as bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia or are battling depression. While it is true that a large number of those who are homeless may be alcoholics, many of those interviewed on Monday told those counting the population that they don't even drink.
Numerous sad stories were heard throughout the evening... One man told a volunteer that from the age of 12 and all the way to his 13th birthday, his father locked him in a closet only allowing him to leave to use the restroom or for school. Meals allegedly took place behind the locked door. Another man said that his jaw was broken by his step father as a child. Other stories of child sex abuse continued to surface as many adults who are now over the age of 40 told volunteers of their troubled past. Some of whom suggested they are not currently undergoing any type of counseling to deal with the problems that may have occurred so many years ago in their life.
At this point, an exact number of the homeless has not been tallied. The numbers could be released as soon as next week. An exact count will allow for more dollars, both federal and state, to be funneled into Rutherford County to help individuals with housing and possibly other services as well.