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How many people are homeless on the First Coast? We'll soon find out.

Homeless sleep.jpg
Michelle Corum
/
WJCT News
Two homeless people sleep outside the JAX Chamber office.

Volunteers will scatter across Duval, Clay and Nassau counties Wednesday to find out what they can about people living unsheltered on the streets. 

The federally mandated census is called the Point-in-Time Count and takes place each January in communities nationwide.

Here on the First Coast it’s conducted by Changing Homelessness — an organization that works with dozens of agencies to provide shelter and services to those who need them.  CEO Dawn Gilman says the last time they did a street count was prior to the pandemic

Homeless bench.jpg
Michelle Corum
/
WJCT News
A homeless person sits covered along the St. Johns River in Downtown Jacksonville.

“Last year we were gearing up to do a full count and the omicron variant rolled through. So this is our first full point in time count going out on the street since January 2020,” Gilman said.

Gilman says there’s a gnawing concern that the homeless population has grown since then.

“The one demographic we’re really interested in finding out more about is we believe that older adults are facing homelessness more frequently and we’re trying to find out if this count is going to bear that out,” Gillman said.

Nearly 200 volunteers will canvas Downtown Jacksonville early Wednesday morning, spend the afternoon in Clay and Nassau counties then survey the beaches that night.

Gilman talked more about homelessness and the Point in Time Count on Monday morning on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.