Volunteers Train for Big Bend Homeless Census

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By: Mike Springer
January 27, 2013

Tallahassee, FL-Volunteers packed their way inside the cafeteria on the Big Bend Homeless Coalition's campus to undergo training for homeless coalition's annual homeless census, also known as its 'Point-in-Time Count Survey.'

Last year, surveyors counted more than 700 homeless in just one day.

"We are also seeing more families who are homeless and people who are homeless for the first time," said Susan Pourciau, an executive director at the Big Bend Homeless Coalition.

She says the weak economy has forced some families out onto the street.

"Folks who were just living paycheck to paycheck in the past were kind of put over the edge when they had a job loss or medical crisis," said Pourciau.

But the survey doesn't just count the number of homeless in Leon County. But it's also a tool the Big Bend Homeless Coalition says it can use to better understand who is homeless and how the help them.

"This is going to help them get some services, whatever they need," said Pat Smith, who is volunteering to help with the survey for the first time.

For Smith and others like her, they say they see this survey as a way to get critical services such as food stamps and housing to those who need it most.

"I'm hoping that they will realize that somebody cares and really wants to help them and that they would come forth and get the services that are available for them," said Smith.

The survey will be done over the course of the next few days. Volunteers will start Monday at 5:30 a.m.

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