Volunteers will set out early Thursday morning to search the streets and shelters in census tracts across San Mateo County for a biannual homeless count.
The effort is intended to provide a “point-in-time snapshot” of the sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals living in county communities as part of a program of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development department. The local count is organized by the county Human Services Agency.
The volunteers, including county employees, county Supervisor Don Horsley and community members, will traverse the county census tracts by foot and car to track the number of homeless individuals, families and people living in encampments.
The data collected will help guide homeless services through the county's HOPE (Housing Our People Effectively) Interagency Council, inform federally required local plans, and help the county's Center on Homelessness direct resources.
“Results of the Homeless One Day Count help us understand where and what services are needed, and how to most effectively allocate our resources to reduce homelessness in the County,” Board of Supervisors President Carole Groom said.
The count data will be compared with previous surveys to show trends over time.
In 2013, a total of 2,281 homeless people were counted across San Mateo County, up slightly from 2,149 in 2011, but the number of people found living on the street decreased from 2011 to 2013 by 24 percent.
This year's final report is expected to be published in May.