SAN JOSE (KCBS) – For the first time ever in Santa Clara County, volunteers began fanning out early Monday morning to learn specifics about the number and makeup of the homeless population in the community.
The Santa Clara County Survey of the Chronically Homeless was scheduled to continue through Wednesday. More than 160 volunteers headed out before dawn on the first day of the homeless count to conduct the survey of people without regular housing or shelter.
They said they would look in a number of “predictable” places like known homeless encampments, near waterways and bridges, and in and around area parks.
Unlike more casual homeless headcounts conducted in the region in the past, this is an actual census targeting the chronically homeless. That meant volunteers would make contact with the homeless, interview them and take their picture, and would look for vulnerabilities that might indicate they were at an increased risk for a serious medical condition or death on the streets.
The volunteer effort was being coordinated by Santa Clara County in partnership with the City of San Jose and a small handful of homeless advocacy groups. The information gathered in the three-day homeless count was to be presented to local officials in an effort to lobby for more temporary, affordable housing in Santa Clara County.
KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:
The Santa Clara County homeless census was also linked to a national campaign by homeless advocates, aimed at getting 100,000 chronically homeless off America’s streets by 2013. There are an estimated 7,000 homeless in Santa Clara County alone.