Volunteers help the government with annual nationwide homeless count
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Thursday night, thousands of North Texans assisted the federal government with its annual nationwide count of people experiencing homelessness.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator Candace Valenzuela says in North Texas, there's a lot of people in need.
"We're seeing homelessness increase at a rapid clip because the cost of living is far exceeding wages, it's far exceeding salaries for most folks," Valenzuela said. "They're just not making it."
She knows firsthand how scary this can be.
"In my own personal situation I was the daughter of a single mother and a veteran and veteran women are 50% more likely to be homeless than all women," she said. "I was about three or four, my brother was still a baby and we were living in kiddie pool right outside a Texaco in El Paso, Texas."
She says what ended up helping her family was a HUD voucher. It allowed them to lease an apartment.
"That gave me enough stability to get through school and go to college," she said. "Tonight's Point In Time count, what it does is tell the federal government how many dollars to allocate towards ending homelessness in that specific area."
The nonprofit Housing Forward is coordinating counting efforts in both Dallas and Collin counties.
More than 700 volunteers are collecting info like gender, race and age. The data helps to accurately evaluate the problem.
"That really helps us inform and continue to inform what strategies need to be in place," Sarah Kahn said.
Learn more about the nationwide count here.
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