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Results of Leon County Homeless Census Released

By: Garin Flowers; Mike Springer Email
By: Garin Flowers; Mike Springer Email

By: Mike Springer
February 1, 2013

Tallahassee, FL-The number of homeless people living in Leon County is up from last year, according to a new report.

The Big Bend Homeless Coalition released its preliminary Homeless Census for 2013 on Friday.

According to the report, there are roughly one thousand homeless people in Leon County.

That's up from the 2012 Census which showed about 700 homeless.

While the Coalition says it's unclear yet why the numbers are up, it does have some theories:

"It may be the economy is still dragging some folks down, it may just be that we did a better job of connecting with people and finding them," said Susan Pourciau, executive director of the Big Bend Homeless Coalitions.

"We need to educate our citizens more about who the homeless are, what their issues are and how we can help," said Tallahassee City Commissioner, Gil Ziffer.

Both City and County Commissioners have proposed the idea of issuing a resolution to help address the problem of homelessness in the area.

As for the Coalition, it says it will now begin working on finding housing for those it has identified as homeless.
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By: Garin Flowers
January 29, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - Every ten years, a census is conducted for all of America, but, every year, the Big Bend Homeless Coalition is host to a survey for people that are experiencing homelessness.

Asleigh Jaggars is a freshman at Florida State. She's majoring in biology. But this week, while balancing her studies, she's dedicating her evenings to volunteering with the Big Bend Homeless Coalition.

"I just really wanted to get involved with the community, I think it's like the most important thing to do, especially at my age to just really connect with people that need it," she said.

She's with other volunteers helping count the number of people who are experiencing homelessness in Leon County.

"I think it's just really opened my eyes to be honest and really inspired me."

It's an annual census called the Point-in-Time Count Survey.

The volunteers first had training on Sunday.

Now, all this week they're hitting the ground. Volunteers are finding people without homes all over Leon County.

"We had 85 volunteers at our training Sunday night and we've seen teams of at least 30 people show up the last two mornings at 5 and 5:30 in the morning," said David Martin, an employee with the Big Bend Homeless Coalition.

Coalition officials say the weak ecomony has forced more people into homelessness. This survey isn't just to provide a number of how many people, but also to figure out ways to help the ones they meet.

"One of the new things we're adding on to the survey this year is the 100,000 homes campaign, which is an effort to identify people in the community that are most vunerable," Martin said.

"It's just definitely a humbling experience, rewarding and something I'd really want to pursue and do more of," Jaggars added.

Last year, surveyors counted more than 700 members of the homeless community in just one day. Martin says he expects there to be a little bit more than a thousand people counted all together.


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