NORWAY — A group of representatives from charities, churches and towns helping homeless and near-homeless people has a tentative name now and a more focused mission.

The Oxford County Community Resource Coalition aims to direct homeless and nearly homeless people to resources and outreach workers who can help.

The group plans to create a resource manual to direct people in need to the appropriate sources for food and mental health services, among other things.

The coalition began when the Rev. Anne Stanley, rector at Christ Episcopal Church in Norway, noticed an increase in people coming to her church asking for financial help. She said more homeless teens and families have been coming in since the fall, and she wanted to be able to direct those she couldn’t help, those looking for shelter and those who hadn’t asked local town governments for General Assistance.

At the group’s third meeting on Thursday, about 25 people attended. The coalition’s coverage area, Oxford County, was finally decided.

Stanley said she’d seen suggestions as wide as three counties, and some at the meeting wanted to start with the Oxford Hills area only, arguing that it was a more manageable coverage area that would leave room to grow.

The group decided to make it a county-wide effort, in part due to the work Paula Paladino, director of Homeless Services at Oxford Group Homes, had put in toward creating the resource manual.

The coalition has applied for a $3,780 grant from the New Initiative Fund of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine. The grant would pay printing costs for the resource manual, a brochure, a laptop computer, a portable printer scanner, a year of Internet service and an E-pad signature link to help people fill out and submit forms online.

The coalition will meet at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 10, in the basement of the Christ Episcopal Church in Norway.

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