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Volunteers Hit The Streets To Count The Homeless

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Advocates in over 400 communities around the country are taking to the streets over the next few weeks to find and tally America’s homeless.

Pinellas County’s annual “Homeless Point-In-Time Count and Survey” occurred Thursday. Three hundred volunteers traveled across the area to speak to homeless individuals. The information they gathered will be sent to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Susan Myers, CEO of the Pinellas County Homeless Leadership Board, says that just by putting a number on the issue, communities get one step closer to putting an end to it.

“HUD really expects communities to be reducing homelessness,” says Myers. “And we are definitely challenged in that we have reduced homelessness in the last few years but we still have a ways to go.”

HUD provides funding to cities and communities based on the findings on their counts. Those funds go to programs that help homeless people find permanent housing solutions and no longer have to live in shelters or on the streets.

Myers says, “Our vision is that homelessness is rare, brief and nonrecurring.”

Hillsborough County is expecting to hold its count Feb. 22 due to this weekend’s Gasparilla festivities.

Ashley Schiedenhelm is a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School Digital News Reporter for the spring of 2018.
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