Volunteers Canvass San Antonio to Obtain Accurate Homeless Count

by Morgan Montalvo

WOAI News

Hundreds of volunteers overnight took part in a meticulous effort to count San Antonio's homeless population, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The annual Point-in-Time homeless count was organized by the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless, or SARAH.

Brenda Mascorro, SARAH Executive Director, says early in the day a team of about 60 volunteers visited local makeshift camps where larger homeless populations live, and an additional 350 volunteers fanned out during the evening to find homeless people living beneath freeway overpasses or bridges, abandoned structures or other places that provide shelter.

Mascorro says this is the second year teams used a smart phone app that records "age, ethnicity, the different demographic questions that are necessary for us to be able to collect data and really analyze it to see where the highest need - where there's increases, where there's decreases, where there's trends, where we need to provide services."

She says while San Antonio's homeless population is smaller than that of comparable cities, she is concerned about the large percentage of local households that number among the working poor.

"Because of the higher poverty situation that we have here in San Antonio, there are a lot of folks that are on the cusp of becoming homeless, and so there is no stereotypical person that is homeless," Mascorro says.

Thursday's Point-in-Time effort complies with federal requirements for "Continuum of Care" assistance organizations to conduct a homeless count during the last 10 days in January of each year to qualify for funding assistance.

PHOTO: South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless volunteer Adam Gordon

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