City's Annual Count of the Homeless Population Takes Place Tonight

Some 400 volunteers will hit the streets of San Antonio tonight, looking under bridges, in urban encampments and in shelters to count the number of people who are homeless in the city, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The annual 'Point in Time' homeless count gives officials an idea of how many people are homeless, why they are homeless, and whether social service agencies can do anything to help.  The census also determined how much federal funding the city will receive for homelessness abatement programs.

Bill Hubbard of the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless says they will no more than just go under bridges and count noses.

"We'll ask why they are homeless, how long they have been homeless, and where they're from," he said.  "This year we are trying to determine if we have any survivors from the hurricanes."

During last year's count there were 2750 homeless people in San Antonio.  Hubbard says that number may be higher this year, because of the skyrocketing price of housing.

"Rents are going up, this is creating more homeless individuals and family in our community."

As for why people are homeless, Hubbard says it runs the gamut.

"Many of them have fallen on hard times due to circumstances beyond their control," he said.  "Some of them have mental health and substance abuse programs."

He says the volunteers will take with them warm socks and snacks for the homeless people, but he says some people simply don't want to interact with anybody in authority at all, so they will simply be counted.

The volunteers will also determine if any of the homeless people might be eligible for benefits which may alleviate their condition, like if any homeless people are veterans.

  He says rides will also be offered to the downtown Haven for Hope homeless shelters, which in addition to beds, also provides vocational training and health care.

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