Volunteers count homeless and provide shelter during annual count

While you were sleeping, volunteers were out looking for those who don’t have a bed of their own.

The annual homeless count is required by the federal government.

The findings from the count will be sent to Congress to determine how much federal funding the community will get to help the hope the homeless population.

Teams of volunteers from the Mid-Michigan community hit the streets armed with flashlights and survival kits to get a head count of how many homeless people are living in mid-Michigan.

“If you’ve got high numbers out here, then that tells you that you need more resources. We’ve got to do a better job of getting houses available for these folks,” says Patrick Patterson, CEO and President of Volunteers for America.

He says not only is this night used to determine the community’s share of federal funding, it’s also an opportunity to build trust and show that there are other options available.

“The first question is do you want to come in, and if they want to come in then we radio base and we bring them in for the night and we either re-connect with the person if we know them or we start a relationship with them,” says Patterson.

Volunteers will get people to warming centers, and for those who don’t want to come inside, volunteers will hand out donated survival materials.

“Those of us that don’t have those problems or can help, that’s part of what I feel the mission of being a person is all about is to be able to give back,” says one of the volunteers, Mark Kerrins.

Offering a hand of hope during a time of need.

“Homelessness especially this time of year is a very isolating place to be and so you’re just bringing humanity to these folks,” says Patterson.

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