While most of the Northern Neck citizens were out buying milk and bread to prepare for Winter Storm Helena, some were wondering how they were going to keep warm and find shelter so that they could live to see another day. These were the thoughts of the volunteers and community members behind the Essex County Homeless Organization (E.C.H.O.).
“Every locality has an issue with homelessness, it’s just a matter of defining it for a community,” stated Essex County Director of Social Services Rodney Gordon. In rural communities like the Northern Neck, homelessness is much harder to spot. According to the National Advisory Committee for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), it is difficult to create an accurate representation of rural homelessness due to the difficulty of data collection. Rural homelessness was even said to be more important due to the severe lack of transportation and shelters in rural areas.