City Agency Seeks Volunteers to Tally Homeless Population

By Geoff Ziezulewicz on December 7, 2012 10:37am | Updated on December 7, 2012 3:21pm

 A man panhandles on Michigan Avenue earlier this year. The city's Department of Family and Support Services is seeking volunteers for a tallying of Chicago's homeless population next month.
A man panhandles on Michigan Avenue earlier this year. The city's Department of Family and Support Services is seeking volunteers for a tallying of Chicago's homeless population next month.
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DNAinfo/Lizzie Schiffman

CHICAGO — The city's Department of Family and Support Services is looking for a few good volunteers to help tally Chicago’s homeless population.

The Point-In-Time Homeless Count is done every two years to gather data on the number and needs of the city’s homeless. It will take place Jan. 22 from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., according to a department release.

The census is vital because the information gathered provides the city with data for its annual U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding application, according to Adriana Camarda, chief planning analyst for the Chicago department's homeless division.

“If we don’t do the census, we don’t know what our street count is,” she said.

Volunteers must be adults, she said. They will meet at various locations and then break off into teams to canvass homeless people in their area.

Camarda said the stint will be safe, and volunteers will only be speaking to homeless people in public spaces or 24-hour businesses.

Police will canvass abandoned buildings, and the CTA will cover mass transit, she said.

“The volunteers will not be going into any unsafe conditions,” Camarda said.

Those interested in volunteering should attend one of four sessions this month. They will be held at 10 a.m. Dec. 12 and 10 a.m. on Dec. 17. All sessions will be held at 1615 W. Chicago Ave.

For more information, email homelesscount@cityofchicago.org, or call DFSS at (312) 746-8610.

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