Organization Counts Homeless of Bay County

The Homeless and Hunger Coalition of Northwest Florida began conducting what's called a point-in-time count since Thursday to determine the number of homeless in Bay County.

Saturday afternoon, officials from the group met at the Panama City Rescue Mission to conduct their study. The official study counts the sheltered and unsheltered homeless in nearby counties.

Group leaders ask the homeless where they spent the night on January 30. Sheltered homeless are individuals who stayed in areas such as the Rescue Mission or churches, unsheltered individuals are ones who stayed in areas such as the woods or abandoned buildings. The data collected is sent to the State of Florida's Office on Homelessness and the Housing and Urban Development Office.

Officials say this is one tool the state and federal level uses to determine the funds allocated to local areas for homeless issues. However, the efforts today weren't just to get information for federal funding, but to provide information to those in need.

"We are trying to show that there are services available," says Ed Brown with the organization. "Many people that aren't in a program don't know about the programs. We provide them with information about the types of services that's available. They provide us with the information about what their needs are and we try to match them up as best as possible."

Officials say they believe they will be finished in our area by Tuesday.