Jennifer Cruz, who volunteered for the homeless count in Cheyenne, Wyo., told Bryan, "They're not out in the open like they are in a larger city, because they find places. I just met a gentleman who's been sleeping on his brother's couch, but he is homeless." Cheyenne, which only has one 90-bed shelter that is typically filled to capacity, tried to get more accurate counts this year "by putting up flyers around town advertising a free meal and hot drinks in Cheyenne's main plaza, where the homeless answer federal homelessness surveys. Even so, volunteers here are still going to miss some people who don't have a home."
"The count is a standard used by the Department of Housing and Urban Development," Bryan writes. "It is performed in January based on the logic that the cold weather will drive people into emergency shelters, where they are easier to find. It is important: The count will in part determine how much federal money state homeless services get. Advocates say when even a few homeless people aren't counted it can make a big difference in the funding." (Read more)