More than a thousand volunteers are scouring Orange County in an attempt to count the homeless.
The ‘Everybody Counts’ county campaign is part of an effort by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to count homeless populations nationally. This helps the feds choose where to send resources.
I went out with a few of the 90 volunteer teams in the crisp, chilly, still-dark wee-hours of the morning to knock on RV’s, tap tents and nudge blankets.
In the first shift from 430am to 9am Orange County says more than 1500 homeless people were counted including just over 100 veterans.
Each person is offered a bus pass, hygiene kit and resource packet if they complete a 28 question survey which pinpoints their location. The first two letters of first and last names are taken from each ‘unsheltered client’ to prevent double counting.
Survey questions include information on substance abuse and mental health, race and gender, how long the person has been homeless, where they’ve been homeless and other demographic data.
The data is fed into an app on each volunteer’s phone which creates a live map of homeless populations in the county.
Photos: Corbin Carson