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Sandra Wilson, president and founder of the Arkansas Homeless Coalition, will resign at the end of the year to take some personal time, the vice president announced Wednesday.

Wilson has been president since 2018 and helped start the coalition in 2004 "simply as a voice to support and advocate with people experiencing homelessness," she wrote in a Facebook post on the coalition's page.

Under her leadership, members formed a partnership with Rock Region Metro to provide free bus passes to the homeless and conducted a survey to analyze what the area's homeless population needed.

Her Facebook post attributed her resignation to health concerns.

The homeless coalition is a volunteer group of people who advocate for Arkansas' homeless population and work to provide services for them.

Dana Davis, the group's vice president, said at Wednesday's meeting that nominations for a new president and four other board positions will be taken at the coalition's November meeting. The four other members -- Bettina Randle, Carolyn Turturro, Margaret Dedman and Patrick Schueck -- have terms that expire at the end of the year.

"Sandra [Wilson] is resigning also to have some time as a human again," Davis said during the meeting. "I mean she does so much, and I don't know where this board would be without Sandra Wilson."

Wilson's term was set to expire at the end of 2020.

"The Coalition has grown to a diverse membership of over 500, has broadened our focus to developing programs, has a great board for leadership, and is positioned to create a real difference in homelessness," Wilson wrote in an Oct. 2 Facebook post. "I am removing myself from the stress and time involvement of leadership, but will always continue supporting and giving time to projects ... ."

Wilson, who did not return requests for comment, specifically listed the Transportation Alliance Project with the bus service and a budding tiny-house project.

The Transportation Alliance Project began earlier this year, and as of last month had provided 91,413 rides for 1,131 registered participants, according to coalition meeting minutes.

In recent weeks, members have begun planning a tiny-house project that would provide small homes for the homeless. Similar programs in other cities across the United States have helped people experiencing homelessness transition into permanent housing.

Chris Porter, the homeless advocate for the city, said he's thankful for the years he spent working with Wilson. Porter is also a coalition board member.

He recalled a day that he and Wilson went out into the woods to conduct a survey of the homeless in the area. That survey, in part, informed the coalition of the need for more transportation for the homeless in Pulaski County.

"She has a passion for homeless people that is really kind of unmatchable," Porter said. "I consider her a friend and a friend of the homeless."

Metro on 10/10/2019

Print Headline: Homeless Coalition president resigning; health concerns cited

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