By: Bailey Myers
January 26th, 2014
Tallahassee FL- About this time every year the big bend homeless coalition works to put a number on how many people are homeless in our area. Sunday hundreds of volunteers prepared to start going out into the community to put a face on those figures.
"Tell them if you could name one of the biggest reasons for being in homelessness what would it be," Just one of the dozens of questions volunteers will be asking this week during the anual Leon County Homeless Point-In-Time Count.
"It's a survey of individuals who are experiencing homelessness to learn what their needs are what their experiences are and what we can do to both determine who they are how many and how to decrease that number and get people out of homelessness and into homes" explained Stephanie Beckingham of the Big Bend Homeless Coalition.
The survey itself is eight pages long and asks everything from personal health questions to where did you live before becoming homeless and things about how you make your money. The goal with this survey is to get a better understanding of who that person is.
"I think when you get to know somebody and get to know a little bit more about them it's easier to care about them and want to help them and see why these people need our help," one volunteer, Rachael Kenworthy, told us.
This is Kenworthy's second year volunteering to help with the survey, and she says it has been an enlightening experience, saying "finding out how many people there were in Tallahassee it really surprised me it was over a thousand people that we counted last year."
Every year the Big Bend Homeless Coalition learns more about the homeless population in our area. Beckingham told the volunteers, "There are people who have been homeless in our community for thirty years. There are people who have been living outside for thirty years."
Aside from data collection in hopes of a better future, organizers believe this survey will serve as a beacon of hope. Robert E. Streater III of Family Endeavors in Tallahassee said, "People are still caring. People are still concerned with those who cannot say home sweet home."
Tomorrow is the first day of three where these volunteers will be out in the community surveying. We were told they provide five dollar gift cards to the people they interview, but do not have enough for everyone. If you would like to make a contribution, they request bringing five dollar gift cards to easily accessible food establishments to the big bend homeless coalition off Pensacola in Tallahassee.