Organizations help the homeless, gather data on the population

Organizations help the homeless, gather data on the population

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Dozens of organizations, businesses and non-profits gathered at the St. Paul's Church Thursday, to help the homeless population in Richmond.

Homeward, a non-profit that supports the homeless, hosted the event called, "Point In Time Count," that's in its 20th year. They provide services for the homeless population while also surveying them.

The homeless who attended Thursday enjoyed a free, hot meal and were able to take advantage of a plethora of services - including STI testing, a coat drive and a haircut.

Other organizations at the event were able to talk to those in attendance about Social Security, re-entry services, IDs and health services.

Andrew Wilkins, a veteran, says he has been off-and-on homeless for years and planned to utilize services at the event.

"I'm jobless," Wilkins said. "I still get help through some of the organizations for food, but still, sometimes getting back on your feet takes a while."

Homeward holds the "Point In Time Count" twice a year in order to better understand the homeless population.

"We try to understand what's happening in homelessness, talking to people directly in this crisis," said Kelly King Horne, Homeward's executive director, "What are their needs? What more could we be doing? What's working? What's not? It helps us understand what we're doing that's working and where the gaps still are, and some of the things that have risen to the top are, we really need to help people connect to employment."

Homeward also has volunteers surveying encampments, shelters and lunch programs.

This is an effort that's not just happening locally but across the United States.

According to The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in 2017 homelessness increased for the first  time in seven years.

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