About 200 volunteers armed with maps, questionnaires and flashlights fanned out across Duval County at 4 a.m. this morning for the annual point-in-time homeless count.
Every Jan. 22, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires counties that receive federal funding for homeless services to conduct a survey of the people who live on the streets.
Amanda Powell, who oversaw the point-in-time count at the beaches, says the surveys give service providers a clearer picture of who needs help and why.
One question on the survey asks how long a person lived in Duval County before becoming homeless.
“Because there’s a big misconception, especially in Jacksonville, that people come from outside Jacksonville to be homeless here," she said.
"In previous point-in-time counts we’ve found that’s not true, that most of the people who are homeless in Jacksonville have roots in Jacksonville and that’s why they’ve stayed here.”
Powell says the surveys also pinpoint those individuals who are likely to die on the street without immediate intervention.
You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.