Volunteers help count homeless population in 3 local counties

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dozens of volunteers with Changing Homelessness, alongside other groups, will collect valuable data on the homeless population in Duval, Clay and Nassau counties this week. The counting will start on Tuesday and go until Thursday.

The goal of counting the number of people without homes is to better gauge the need and figure out more modes of outreach.

In Duval, one of the volunteer sites is at FSCJ’s Urban Resource Center, and the two other locations are in San Marco and the Beaches.

When volunteers spot someone, who they believe is experiencing homelessness, they will listen to their story, learn how they became homeless, and hand out care packages.

They’ll document each encounter on an app and use the information to determine the right mix of programs to help.

There was also a count that happened in January, and volunteers wore sweaters, jackets and hats to brace for the chilly temperatures. Now, extreme heat is a concern for people experiencing homelessness.

The goal of the summer survey is to make sure volunteers didn’t miss anyone over the winter.

The total number of people experiencing homelessness is down 19% from 2020 and 55% from 2013.

Volunteers reported more than 1200 people experiencing homelessness in the January count, across all three counties.

Volunteers found 851 people had access to some form of shelter, while 396 were unsheltered.

About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.