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Annual Homeless Count Aims To Put Number On Needs

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Thousands of volunteers fanned out across the city Monday night to help count the number of people living on the street.

About 3,000 people teamed up to help the Department of Homeless Services conduct its annual homeless count.

The agency uses the results to determine how the city will allocate resources to better serve the homeless.

"It's really a great galvanizing tool for the city. It allows everyone to come together around the issue of homelessness and people living on the street but more importantly it gives us a marker for our efforts to reduce the number of people who are living on the street," said DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond.

"Depending on the numbers that we have, we'll have more people out in the streets trying to get people into shelter or trying to get them the services they need out in the streets or through drop-in centers or safe havens," said DHS Senior Counsel Tonie Baez.

DHS officials say since the count began in 2005, the city has seen a 26 percent decline in the homeless population.

However, the Coalition for the Homeless argues the city's count is flawed since only those in plain sight are counted. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP