The biennial homeless count for Hillsborough and Pinellas began today. Florida counties are required to conduct a census of people who are living in the shelters, on the streets, in the woods or with friends or family. This operation is required by law and is held every two years.
For this census taking, there are more than 300 volunteers in Hillsborough and 150 in Pinellas surveying the homeless. They are divided into 11 teams in Hillsbough and will be visiting the streets and encampments most frequented by the homeless, as well as the emergency and transitional shelters. Those surveyed will be given a pair of new socks or a rain poncho, according to officials. In Pinellas County a phone bank will be made available to homeless families to call in and report their situation.
The survey is being conducted by volunteers and anyone wanting to be counted is invited to call this toll free number 800-528-0808 to be included in the census.
In the most recent count of homeless conducted in 2011, the volunteers counted 17,775 people who were homeless in Hillsborough County and 5,887 in Pinellas County.