One cold night at the end of each January, volunteers all over the U.S. hit the streets to take a census of people who are homeless in their communities.
January was chosen to make the count simpler as most people who are homeless seek shelter to avoid the cold.
But shelters fill and some people are left out on the street.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) makes funds available to serve homeless persons. At the federal level, the numbers gathered in the annual Homeless Street Count are collected, analyzed and used as indices of funding formulas for local governments. As a result of the local Homeless Street Count in Maricopa County, about $21 million was returned to local organizations to fund programs that serve the homeless persons.
Training is provided in December and the count is held for one night in January.