Alachua County conducts annual count of homeless population
Organizers say the annual count allows the county to better understand the population and how to provide relief
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Alachua County is attempting to learn more about its own homeless population.
The county is conducting its annual point in time count to get an accurate number of homeless people in the county.
“We pick one night a year, usually the end of January, and we have tons of volunteers come out and help us really gauge what the population is right now in our community,” said organizer Patrick Dodds.
About 50 surveyors help gather information from people who are homeless.
“This helps us get a sense of not only how many people are there but where they may be located,” said Dodds. “So if we’re seeing a bit more of a spread out congregation of folks, we know that we may need more street outreach. That helps us to develop programs to try and identify where those gaps are and fill them.”
Many of them are currently homeless or previously experienced homelessness.
“It’s a great benefit to have individuals who themselves have experienced homelessness,” said Dodds, “because I think they can approach individuals in a way that would be more acceptable. They also can better identify areas where people may be congregating.”
“I will be hoping that this will establish something positive in this community,” said one surveyor, Aaron Green, “in order to allow those that are homeless as well as veterans, like myself is, to be able to receive assistance and move forward in a pandemic society.”
“A lot of the homeless are in need of transportation,” said another surveyor, Patti Nusbaum, “so whenever we go to those certain areas to do the surveys, we get a better of idea of where they need to be, and where they are, and where they can go.”
A statement said overall homelessness in the county decreased by five percent, but when asked about numbers...
“Last year there were 318 people in Alachua County experiencing homelessness on the streets,” said Dodds. “The year before it was 272.”
Organizers say the results will be available later this spring.
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