Counting Homeless Texomans Could Bring Funds To North TX

Once every two years the Homeward Bound Homeless Coalition counts the number of homeless Texomans.

It's part a nation-wide effort to help determine where funding should be concentrated and volunteers expect the numbers to be much higher this year.

"I think it's going to be a lot higher because of the economic condition we live in today. I think the number of jobs that have left the area will have a bearing on the results we find," member of the coalition Dennis Wilde said.

The Homeward Bound Homeless Coalition serves as the Continuum of Care for North Texas.

It includes 16 North Texas counties and was formed about 6 years ago.

Thursday night from 6-9 p.m. about 20 members of the coalition and volunteers will be at all local shelters conducting surveys.

They'll be counting on law enforcement agencies throughout the other counties to count any homeless people living in rural areas.

"It's a crucial effort. Accuracy counts, numbers count and we hope everyone will take it seriously and dollars will start flowing to our North Texas area," Wilde said.

The count is required through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The hope is through conducting the extensive point-in-time count, our area will be eligible for federal funding.

"If the area has high concentration of homeless, the need for funding exists in that area. This is to shift where the dollars are needed and to focus on what issues are there," Wilde said.

The Homeward Bound Homeless Coalition has applied for the grant in years past, but has not yet received it.

Wilde is with the NORTEX Regional Planning Commission and said he's confident they will get the funding this year.

"Getting them out of the setting they're in and connecting with workforce opportunities and trying to get them re-employed and off of homelessness and into society."

Homeless coalitions across the state will all be conducting their surveys Thursday night at the same time.

Last year, there were 109 homeless people counted in Wichita Falls.

We'll be checking back in with the Homeward Bound Homeless Coalition in a couple weeks when they expect to have the total numbers in.

Lindsey Rogers, Newschannel 6