JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Volunteers canvassed the streets Wednesday morning, helping people who are homeless by counting and surveying the homeless in our community.
Around 250 volunteers gathered in downtown Jacksonville for the "Point in Time" count to see how we can better serve the homeless. It’s a national yearly census and survey of the homeless people in our communities.
Volunteers canvassed the streets of Clay, Duval and Nassau counties working to locate, identify and count the homeless on the streets and in shelters.
“People are willing to tell their story and some of them are very heart-wrenching,” volunteer Lori Nolan said.
Volunteers passed out bags like filled with hygiene products and snacks, serving as a thank you for participating.
Lou Dougherty has volunteered for the "Point in Time" count for the past four years. He said the homeless share their problems and volunteers figure out ways to help them.
"There’s been a lot of times where we’ve given them information on where to get help,” Dougherty said. “Believe it or not, for as much help as there is right around here, some folks just don’t know how to get it so it’s a good thing. It’s kind of like an outreach effort.”
All the information the volunteers gather on Wednesday will be used to help measure how Jacksonville is doing as a community to address the needs of our homeless population.
Last year, Northeast Florida’s overall total of homeless people went down almost five percent, but the street population increased by 12 percent. The increase is expected to continue this year.