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January 31, 2013

Homeless advocates fan out across Stanislaus County

Dozens of volunteers fanned out across Stanislaus County to count and interview the homeless, something they do every two years as part of requirement for federal funding to help the homeless. The counts provide social service providers with valuable information.

Dozens of volunteers fanned out across Stanislaus County today to count and interview the homeless, going into parks, along riverbanks and other locations where the homeless congregate.

The count is done every two years and is a requirement in order for local government agencies, nonprofits and other homeless advocates to receive federal funding to help the homeless.

Previous counts have turned up from roughly 1,400 to 1,800 homeless people. But these counts are snapshots and cannot include all of the county's homeless.

The counts provide social service providers with valuable information. They learn such things about the homeless as their ages, how long they have been homeless, the reasons for their homelessness, and the services they need. This allows social service providers to tailer their services.

Today's count was organized by the continnum of care, a collection of roughly 70 local governments, such as the housing authority and the cities of Turlock and Modesto, as wells as nonprofits and social service agencies.

The results of the count should be released by spring.

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