FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – In just a few weeks census workers will fan out across North Texas to count the number of homeless in the area.

To accomplish the task, Tarrant County Homeless Coalition (TCHC) executive director Cindy Crain said professionals and volunteers are put together. “We recruit teams of three to five and they get a map, a stack of surveys, and training, and they go and they cover their particularly assign area.”

TCHC is still putting together teams and is currently recruiting 500 volunteers to help with the outdoor canvass resulting in what Crain calls, “…a comprehensive countywide count and census of the unsheltered homeless.”

Guidelines by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) require municipalities to justify money spent on the homeless. With that in mind Crain said, “We want to show as high an occupancy possible for all the dollars that come into the community and we also have to provide a figure that shows unmet need.”

A portion of federal funds available will be awarded on a point system, based on data collected from the count. “The higher the points you get the more potential you have to earn bonus money for new permanent housing,” Crain said.

In addition to ‘unsheltered’ individuals those living in shelters will also be counted and interviewed.

Homeless counts across North Texas not only reveal how successful local programs have been at their effort to end homelessness, but detailed interview information is used to help better understand the changing trends, extent, and nature of homelessness.

To eliminate the possibility of duplicated numbers, homeless counts across the state will all take place on the same night — January 24.

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