La Crosse, WI (WXOW) ----- There is a common misconception that homelessness exists only in big cities but over the past 4 years the number of homeless people in our community continues to grow.
There are various agencies in La Crosse County that offer services to the homeless. One of which is Couleecap. In order to solve the problem the agency needs to count the number of homeless people in our area.
The count or census determines the number of homeless people in our area on a typical night. In Wisconsin, on most nights, providers say they serve nearly four times their bed capacity.
For that reason volunteers are literally counting the number of people living on La Crosse streets. At 3:45 Wednesday morning volunteers from Independent Living Resources, the Salvation Army, the Veterans Assistance Foundation and Couleecap met at the KwikTrip in La Crosse to begin a point in time count. They'll do it along with other agencies in the state of Wisconsin, at the same time, on the same day.
The volunteers are broken up into teams. With clipboard in hand they'll split up and search different areas of the city. They'll check behind stores and any place off the beaten path...including under bridges where we found this homeless person.
Kim Cable from Couleecap headed up the count and says this task isn't as simple as it sounds. "I think people also move around a lot because they don't want to get found out by the police or anyone because technically I think they're trespassing and they can be asked to move on. So I think people have more than one place where they stay so they are kinda moving around a lot so they are flying under the radar.'"
On this warm summer day in La Crosse the count totaled 12 people, all of whom were without shelter, on the street. The survey included New Horizons which has 21 people in shelter today, YWCA Ruth House which has 4 people and 89 people at the Salvation Army.
That breaks down to 9 families and 12 children. Homelessness is particularly bad for a child for obvious reasons. Then there's the fact that they aren't getting proper nutrition and are missing school.
Last year the salvation army served 756 people. So far, in 2012, they have served 511 and we are only halfway through -the year.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and WXOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Theresa Wopat at 507-895-9969. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.