Counting Tallahassee's Homeless

The Coalition for the Homeless says it's a daunting task, but it helps them improve the lives of hundreds of those who need help, but may not know where to find it.

Tonika Wimberly, her husband and their four children have been homeless since this summer, shortly after losing everything. They initially moved in with family, but decided to go it on their own last week.

Tonika says, "So my husband had a little more than $100 in his pocket and we got six tickets to Tallahassee."

The Coalition for the Homeless hears stories like Wimberly's every day. That's why the coalition does an every other year survey of the homeless to learn more about them and to find out what can be done to help.

Wendy Crook, Ph.D., of the FSU School of Social Work, says, "We do this to provide information for the agencies providing services for the homeless. They use the information for planning purposes."

Katrina Brewsaugh, a Coalition for the Homeless volunteer, adds, "We ask them where they stayed last night, how they became homeless, to get a better look at the homeless population."

The coalition says that last year during the count it found more than 700 homeless, half of them children. The goal is to eventually reduce those numbers as closely as possible to zero. At last word the count was approaching 300, but the survey was still underway.