Volunteers in Ohio today and tonight will conduct what is called the annual "Point In Time" count of the homeless.
It provides a snapshot of the number of homeless individuals, and helps agencies target funding to where it’s most needed. Agencies in most counties are coordinating their own individual counts today, looking for those living in shelters, parks, cars and abandoned building as well as the unsheltered.
Erica Mulryan with the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio says the U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development requires the count to be completed any time during the last 10 days of January. She says the count is to be conducted by any agency that receives funding to serve the homeless, but the final numbers will not truly reflect the actual homeless population.
The Community Shelter Board held its count last week in downtown Columbus, allowing the homeless to meet with people from agencies that could connect them to shelter and other support services. Spokesperson Sara Loken says the cold weather helps to build awareness.
Last year, more than 12 thousand homeless Ohioans were counted.