Massive undertaking: counting the homeless in York County

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YORK, Pa.  -- Social Service agencies and volunteers spent two days tackling the massive undertaking of counting the homeless population.

York College Professor Audra Johns and some of her students spent Thursday morning scouring York City for homeless people. "We always look for bridges. Any places where people would be able to seek shelter, under the bridges, overpasses, woods," said Johns, who has volunteered to help people in need for years. "It gives you a great appreciation and a lot of empathy for what people are going through."

Homelessness
David Hildebrand has spent ten years living without any stable home to call his own. "I Just jump around. Work where I can," he said. "last week I was just staying in the houses I was fixing up."

Hildebrand said he didn't expect anything to change, and had no real hopes or dreams. "I've done everything I wanted to do," he said.

When asked what York County could do better he said housing. "More public housing," he said. "Almost every block, you see two, three, or more of them buildings that have the red signs on them. They are condemned."

The survey takes place in two parts:

Homeless housing agencies in York County counted the sheltered homeless population on Wednesday night, followed by a count of the unsheltered homeless population during the day on Thursday.

The counts are required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Homeless were asked survey questions to help determine the causes and frequency of their homelessness.

The information is used by local social service agencies to help the homeless population and determine any state and federal funding for homeless populations.

A survey of the sheltered homeless population occurs every year.

The 2015 count of sheltered homeless identified 475 individuals in need of permanent housing. The most recent count of unsheltered homeless, from 2015, identified 42 individuals without housing.