Homeless Count Begins in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties
Volunteers will begin counting the number of homeless people in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties this afternoon. It’s part of an annual count that determines federal funding and how local resources are used to help the homeless.
Volunteers will be going to places where homeless people tend to find shelter for the night, both on the streets and at emergency shelters.
They’ll record information like a person’s age, gender, and whether they’re living alone or in family units.
Homeless Services Network of Central Florida’s Director Martha Are says this data will help determine how federal and local dollars are used.
“We are able to identify trends and determine whether or not our homeless population is increasing or decreasing. And whether those numbers represent primarily individuals or families and all of that helps us at the local level to identify what kind of strategies we need to be using, what populations we need to be focusing on.”
She expects numbers will be lower this year because of the cold weather.
“Some of the guys that like save up money they’ll use the money on that night to go put themselves in a hotel because it’s cold. Right? So then they’re not out on the streets for us to count. So that’s what throws off our count. Same thing happened when it rained years ago.”
Are says that’s why local agencies keep their own count through the homeless management information system which is available on their website.
She says homeless counts have been down in the tri-county area the past five years.
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