Volunteers count Louisville’s homeless population in order to assess needs

Hundreds volunteer to count Louisville's homeless while assessing needs

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It was just 6° at 4 a.m Thursday morning, but that didn’t stop more than 300 volunteers from helping count the homeless population sleeping on the streets of metro Louisville.

“We use it to inform our services throughout the year. even more so we use it for federal funding that comes to our community.” Melissa Kratzer with Coalition for the Homeless said.

In 2018 the city counted nearly 1,000 people living on the streets when it was 11° outside. They were able to come up with the number because of volunteers venturing out again this year and asking questions.

“If they’re awake we try to interview them - ask them their name, birth date, things like that,” volunteer Liam Gallagher said.

If they’re asleep, volunteers have to guess.

Forgotten Louisville suggested contacting outreach organizations instead of buying items in order to create less trash.
Forgotten Louisville suggested contacting outreach organizations instead of buying items in order to create less trash. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Some people without homes are found in dumpsters, tucked away under the overpass or up against a building. No matter where they are, volunteers go beyond the checklist, offering them clothing items or goodie bags filled with necessities.

Some volunteers even offered people on the street a ride to shelters, a White Flag night because of the single digit temperatures.

Shelters have even extended their hours of stay overnight.

While wanting to help by dropping off blankets, tents and furniture comes from a sincere place, Tiny Markwell, founder of Forgotten Louisville, said it’s creating more trash and bringing negative attention to the real problem. She suggested reaching out to organizations doing outreach in the city to see where they need assistance.

“We know specifically what is going on, what is needed for that day,” Markwell said. “We share that information with each team that is constantly out in the community.”

The results from Thursday morning’s street count will be released in February.

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