Local groups aid homeless citizens who want to vote in elections

2020 Election

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC)– There’s been a push nationally and in central Virginia to make sure everyone’s voice is heard in the upcoming election. That includes our area’s homeless population.

“Homeless families have the right to vote,” explained Housing Families First’s Executive Director Beth Vann-Turnbull when discussing voting in November’s election.

Housing Families First aids families facing homelessness and helps them get into a permanent home of their own. The organization helps around 160 families a year to get back on their feet.

Vann-Turnbull says in the past they have had several events with the purpose of registering people to vote.

Housing Families First helps people interested in registering to vote by providing them with the resources they need. They walk with families right across the street to the eastern Henrico County early voting location in order to help them cast their ballots.

One thing they say to residents is that no matter what your situation is, your opinion matters.

“They feel like, ‘I don’t have time, my vote doesn’t matter anyways.’ We want people to know that yes, every vote matters. There are races here in Virginia with razor-thin margins, your vote matters,” expressed Vann-Turnbull. “We still want people to know, you have the right to vote and here’s access to info.”

Tyrone Nelson is pastor of the historic Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond which for years acted as an overflow shelter for the City of Richmond.

Nelson also represents the Varina district on Henrico County’s Board of Supervisors and he says photo identification is one problem for people without a permanent address when it pertains to voting.

“Some of the struggles would be ID and clearly now IDs are important – an address that will go with your ID and transportation,” explained Nelson.

Nelson said he would allow anyone who needs an address in order to gain a valid ID to use his church’s address.

Vann-Turnbull shared that there are always opportunities for community members to volunteer with groups who help people in need, not just during election season.

“If you want to see how the policies you hear about on TV play out in real people lives. Come have dinner at the shelter and talk to people and you’ll see,” said Vann-Turnbull.

Some local organizations that help the homeless population include:

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