Volunteers counting the homeless in Pinellas County - WFLA News Channel 8

Volunteers counting the homeless in Pinellas County

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Volunteers talked to homeless in St Pete Thursday Volunteers talked to homeless in St Pete Thursday
Volunteers in St. Pete conducted a survey on the streets to help homeless Volunteers in St. Pete conducted a survey on the streets to help homeless
ST PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

How many men and women are homeless in Pinellas County?

That's a question about 400 volunteers braved the cold Thursday morning to find out. They were passing out surveys that could give those folks without a home some much needed help.

The sun may have been up on Thursday morning, but that didn't mean it was warm. A group of men and women in bright colored shirts are working long hours for no pay.

"I got here at about 6:45," said volunteer Valarie Apata.

The volunteers are from the Pinellas County Homeless Leadership Board, and Thursday they're asking folks to fill out surveys. The information will be used to apply for funding and to develop new homeless programs.

"They're not bad people, they're just people in a particular crisis right now, and I believe they can be helped," Apata said.

Herbert Wright is one of them. The lifelong Pinellas County resident became homeless a few months ago, so now the streets of St. Pete are his home.

"It's been cold. It's definitely been cold. And it takes a tough individual to deal with it," he said.

He was eager to sign up for the survey. Aside from the goodie bag he received, he saw it as a way to help out his friends.

"I think it's a great program, a great opportunity because what they're trying to do is get the money here so they can help us along the way," Wright said.

Wright has dreams. He says he's going to start studying to become a social worker. He just needs a helping hand. And these surveys can offer that.

During last year's survey, 6,000 homeless were counted in Pinellas County. Hillsborough County will hold a similar homeless survey next month.

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