Hundreds take to the streets of San Antonio for annual homeless count
SAN ANTONIO - Hundreds of volunteers walked the streets of San Antonio to get a better idea of how many people are homeless and what their needs are.
Organizers and volunteers hope their efforts can help stop the growing issue in the city.
Thursday night's annual count was conducted by numerous volunteers across San Antonio, including The South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless (SARAH) and city officials.
Volunteers started gathering around 5 p.m. at D.R. Semmes Family YMCA at TriPoint before heading out at 6 p.m.
“Kind of just reassuring them we are not here to hurt you to report you to the police we are just here to ask you some questions,” says Michelle Mullin, a volunteer.
Individuals were assigned to small groups and were provided with a map of a specific area of town to go to. Training was also provided before the count.
Mullin says she has been participating in the count since 2011.
“Making the contact and a lot of them probably don't have the experience of talking to anybody.
The annual Point in Time Count (PIT) of the homeless helps expose services the city offers to help the population in need.
“Draw a baseline for our community,” says Bill Hubbard, Executive Director of SARAH.
Organizers say this year's focus is on the youth, those ages 24 and younger.
“Under unaccompanied youth is a real serious issue with us.” “We are focusing using juvenile probation we are going to the libraries,” adds Hubbard.
Under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, San Antonio is required to do to the annual count in order to continue receiving federal funding for homeless programs, such as The Salvation Army, Haven for Hope, and The San Antonio Rescue.
“The people that get the areas that have higher numbers they are going to have more encounters,” adds Mullin.
Last year, over 2,000 people experiencing homelessness were counted, including more than 500 children.
From street to street, it’s an experience volunteers say they will never forget.
“These people are just like you and me that's the thing that has struck me all these years,” adds Mullin.
Numbers for this year's count won't be released for another couple months.
Overall, about 400 volunteers participated.
The count ended at midnight.
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.