Agencies working to count the number of Roanoke's homeless

Blue Ridge Interagency Advisory Council on Homelessness members talk to homeless people at the Rescue Mission. (Photo: Annie Andersen)

ROANOKE, Va. (WSET) -- Every year, the state does a survey to find out how many homeless people there are.

Currently, The Blue Ridge Interagency Advisory Council on Homelessness (BRICH), comprised of representatives from jurisdictions and agencies across the Roanoke Valley, is doing its count for Roanoke.

They started Wednesday, counting people at the Rescue Mission. Early Thursday morning, they will go out to the streets and count unsheltered homeless people.

Once the numbers are tallied, they will be used to help plan and prioritze different ways to end homelessness.

In a news release, BRICH said, "Data collected during the PIT count is critical to effective planning and performance management toward the goal of ending homelessness for each community and for the nation as a whole. Counting those who are unsheltered ensures that many of the people with the highest needs are prioritized for services in community strategic planning initiatives."

The numbers should be calculated by mid-March and organizers say they are hopeful to see a decrease for the second year in a row.

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