SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — 7hills Homeless Shelter in Fayetteville held a homecoming event Friday afternoon to bring awareness to the homeless population that keeps on growing.

“Last year we helped up to 45 people obtain permanent housing and it’s people like Patrick,” Mike Williams said.

Mike Williams the CEO of 7hills Homeless Shelter and says the event on April 21 was a call to action to gather more helping hands to assist those who are in need.

“No single city or county government, no single nonprofit, no single company or donor is going to make this go away. We’re going to have to come together as a region to talk about this issue,” Williams said.

Williams said if you didn’t want to hear it from him, maybe the world would listen to Patrick Clifton who experienced being homeless for nearly eight years.

“Nowhere to go. Didn’t know anyone here. It was a big shock, a cultural shock, you know. It’s a whole different world when your homeless,” Clifton said.

Clifton says he just wants to be a voice for the homeless community to share his stories to let others know what he sees out there.

“It’s a struggle. Every day. Just trying to make it through another day,” Clifton said.

Williams says there are numerous factors involved in why the homeless population continues to increase.

“One of the things we’re seeing is that housing rates are rising rapidly, and they’re rising more rapidly than incomes are rising. And so, as rents go up, you just imagine your own personal budget,” Williams said.

Another concern on why they need to tackle this issue now is, according to the Northwest Arkansas Council, in nearly 20 years, NWA is projected to have 1 million residents.

“Where are we going to put all these people when they come here? We can’t keep spreading out,” Nelson Peacock said.

Nelson Peacock the President of the NWA Council says homelessness not only affects people with no money, but it’s knocking at some of the working-class front doors.

“Middle-income folks, nurses, teachers, firefighters we can’t have them commuting hours to get to work every day they need to be able to live in the communities where they serve,” Peacock said.

Along with Clifton and many others, their goal will be to fight the housing crisis and ask people to join in on making a difference in someone’s life.

“It’s got to be action. It’s got to start now and stuff. There are all kinds of solutions and ideas that’s worth the action,” Clifton said.