Group counts local homeless population

Annual Homeless Point-in-Time Count required by federal government

SAN ANTONIO – About 400 volunteers hit the streets of Bexar County on Thursday evening to tally up the number of homeless people in the area.

The annual census, known as the "Homeless Point-in-time Count," is coordinated by the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless.

"The overall goal that we're trying to achieve is to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring in our community," said Bill Hubbard, SARAH's executive director. 

In addition to taking a count, the volunteers were prepared to offer assistance to anyone who wanted it and put them in touch with the services they need.

The count is required by the federal government, which contributes about $9.1 million per year toward programs that help the homeless.

Earlier this week, volunteers began tallying smaller subgroups, including homeless youth and veterans.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, the largest group of volunteers hit the streets, counting up everyone else.

"They're going into parks and alleys and those kinds of places," Hubbard said.

Volunteers focused on other areas of the county early on, followed by a search of the downtown area later in the night.  

SARAH has participated in the annual census for about 10 years.

Hubbard said during the past three years or so, he has seen some encouraging signs.

"Our numbers have remained actually fairly steady," he said. "And if you put that in perspective with the growth in our population, that's a very good trend."

The number of homeless people counted in Bexar County last year was 2,743. 

Totals for 2015 and 2016 were 2,891 and 2,781, respectively. This year's final number should be released in a couple of months.

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