Volunteers gather to count, help the homeless

Residents are canvassing their communities as part of a national campaign to help the homeless

January 24, 2012 5:26:02 AM PST
A team of volunteers are canvassing their communities this week to learn just how big the homeless population is and how the problem of homelessness can be fixed.

The effort is part of the national 100,000 Homes Campaign. The organization uses trained teams to survey the area's homeless population to assess immediate needs in an effort to house 100,000 people by 2013.

As the movement made its way into Orange and Wake counties Tuesday morning, dozens of volunteers gathered to learn how to identify the most vulnerable homeless people and prioritize them for permanent housing.

Advocates say homeless people are not always people you may expect to see on the streets.

"People are used to seeing the person on the corner with the cup, asking for money," said Lisa Crosslin with Passage Home, a nationally recognized faith-based nonprofit community development corporation. "I think now, with the economics and the way the way things are, homelessness and the face of homelessness have changed dramatically."

There are men, women, and children among the homeless now, and they are in need of blankets, toiletries, and sometimes attention for health problems. "Most of the homeless population seek medical help through the emergency room," said Ruth Peebles with Partnership to End Homelessness. "We want to assist them by providing preventive care and ongoing health services as needed."

Help will also be provided as over 100 trained volunteers -- led by United Way of the Greater Triangle and the 100,000 Homes Campaign Committee -- take to the streets and shelters Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

To learn more visit www.100khomes.org.

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