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Volunteers Begin 2017 Houston Area Homeless Count

Several agencies are conducting their annual count of Houston’s homeless population. The 2017 homeless count identifies the number of sheltered and unsheltered individuals in Houston and several surrounding counties.

It’s a three-day process to find out how many people are homeless, beginning with an overnight count of those using shelters. Marilyn Brown with the Coalition for the Homeless says volunteers then take the survey to the streets Tuesday through Thursday.

“We do know what we call ‘hot spots,’ and we know that because of staff at the various agencies that actually provide outreach all year long.”

Brown says Houston leads the nation in solving homelessness. There were 3,626 homeless individuals on a given night in 2016 — a 21 percent reduction from the previous year. The Houston area is receiving $34 million from HUD to help end homelessness.

“The survey questions are all federally-mandated questions, but we do find a lot about their needs. And those who are eligible for housing — chronically homeless individuals, the ones with a disability that have been unsheltered for over a year, youth and families with children — we will do an automatic housing assessment right there on the spot.”  

Some 200 surveyors and volunteers are taking part in the count, which covers Harris, Fort Bend, and Montgomery Counties.

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