More people than ever will help with an annual count of homeless in Louisville this week.
Nearly 300 people have signed up to assist in the count, said Susanne Binford, a spokeswoman for Seven Counties Services.
But despite the high number of volunteers, it’s still not enough.
“It’s never enough,” she said.
The goal is to inspect every street in Louisville looking for people that aren’t in a shelter, take a tally and compare that with the number of people staying the night in local shelters, she said.
Last year, about 70 people were counted. Including people in shelters, nearly 8,600 people were considered homeless in Louisville, Binford said.
While volunteers won’t be able to walk down every street, they will visit the “hot spots” for homeless activity, she added.
“Like downtown, some areas in the West End, some South End areas, but there are definitely more areas in the South End we could cover and more areas in the West End,” she said.
And she said it may seem as a surprise to many, but homeless people are in the eastern parts of Jefferson County, too.
“We hit all of those areas,” she added.
The count is part of a national effort to assess homeless populations around the country. Every community that receives funding from the federal Housing and Urban Development Department conducts a count, Binford said.
The number of homeless reported to HUD following the count plays a role in how much funding communities receive from the agency, she added.
Jefferson County service providers this week announced a $9 million allotment from the federal government to help provide housing and other transitional services for homeless residents, Binford said.
Other Kentucky communities will share another $10 million in HUD funding to combat homelessness.
Binford encourages more people to take part in the count set for Thursday morning.
“So many people feel helpless when it comes to homelessness,” she said. “But this is a way to get some good funding, this is a way for people to be a part of the solution.”
But before people show up for the count, they need to attend a mandatory training session Wednesday evening.
The preparation session begins at 6 p.m. and should take about an hour, according to a news release. It’s mandatory, even if you attended last year.
To find out how to sign up, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.