Homeless count takes volunteers 14 hours to survey - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Homeless count takes volunteers 14 hours to survey

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It started bright and early at 5 a.m. when volunteers gather at the Memphis Inter-Faith Association headquarters downtown. It started bright and early at 5 a.m. when volunteers gather at the Memphis Inter-Faith Association headquarters downtown.
Marian Bacon supported the cause because it is close to home. She experienced homelessness for five years. Marian Bacon supported the cause because it is close to home. She experienced homelessness for five years.
Volunteers surveyed all of Shelby County Wednesday during their point-in-time homeless count, which helps keep track the number of people living on the streets. Volunteers surveyed all of Shelby County Wednesday during their point-in-time homeless count, which helps keep track the number of people living on the streets.
The plan has since punched a 13 percent in homelessness and placed 70 people in their 100,000 homes program. The plan has since punched a 13 percent in homelessness and placed 70 people in their 100,000 homes program.

(WMC-TV) - Volunteers surveyed all of Shelby County Wednesday during their point-in-time homeless count, which helps keep track the number of people living on the streets.

It started bright and early at 5 a.m. when volunteers gather at the Memphis Inter-Faith Association headquarters downtown.

"[Wednesday] is our point-in-time count, and we try to get a number of how many people experience homelessness on one given day, typically the coldest night of the year," said Director of Community Alliance for the Homeless Katie Kitchin.

Despite the cold and windy weather, volunteers discovered homeless in a variety of places.

"These people are tucked up in vacants, somewhere out of site. We found some encampments in the woods, under some bridges," said volunteer Paul Garner.

Marian Bacon supported the cause because it is close to home. She experienced homelessness for five years.

Bacon spent the morning talking to people at St. Mary's soup kitchen downtown, collecting interviews with willing participants, and gathering valuable data that helps determine funding.

"We implemented an action plan to end homelessness about two years ago, and this is our key yard stick to determine how we're doing," said Kitchin.

The plan has since punched a 13 percent in homelessness and placed 70 people in their 100,000 homes program.

Perhaps more importantly, it gives a chance to put names to faces.

"Coming out and just talking to somebody one on one. Realizing the dignity and humanity that we all share," said Garner.

It took volunteers 14 hours to complete their county-wide survey. The tally will be used to calculate the city's share of federal funding for homeless services.

"I'd happily work myself out of a job if it meant no one had to experience homelessness. I think the good news is we're housing lots of people on any given week," said Kitchin.

Copyright 2014 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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