Putting an exact number on the homeless population is almost impossible. Volunteers are hitting the streets and shelters Thursday to at least get an estimate. The Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County organizes the homeless count every other year.
"We can't be designing and planning programs for who we believe to be homeless we really need to know what the needs are," Lesa Weikel with the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County said. "With these numbers we can plan to increase services and housing to get homeless people off the street."
Robert McCrary, 65, has been living on the streets for more than a decade.
"Not all of us are bad we need help we need understanding," McCrary said. "We need a sense of value."
McCrary says he appreciates that during the count volunteers interview homeless people and get to know their stories. The people who participate get a free pair of socks or poncho.
Homeless doesn't just mean living on the streets. 8 On Your Side is hosting a phone bank so people living in hotels can call to be counted, as well as those living with relatives.
For more information on the homeless count and how you can help go to the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County website.
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