The annual Homelessness Count set up shop at the bus depot in Morgantown. Some volunteers are hoping that the cold spell that came through the area Monday, January 27 encouraged the homeless population to come in, get warm, get some food, and take the survey.
"When they hear that there is something warm to drink, or there's hats or there's gloves that's more likely to get them to come versus if it's just a regular nice day and they would just rather be outside," said Jaydee Moultrie, a volunteer and intern at Mylan Health Right, and a WVU graduate student. "So the cold weather may actually work in our favor."
Caritas House, Mylan Health Right, and other volunteer organizations provided meals and warmth to the homeless.
The volunteers had to prepare to be able to help complete the count during Registry Week.
"We had to pick a time slot to sign up for, what time we wanted to go, and we looked at a map of the community or different places we would go," said Moultrie. "We also worked with different homeless people in the area to learn about what are some good locations to go different tips and things like that. So they really helped us."
The volunteers are trained to ask the homeless specific questions on a survey.
"What we're going to do to use that information is hopefully share with the public to raise awareness about the conditions that people are living in," said Caitlin Sussman, the Registry Week Project Manager. "And also we will use that information to improve homeless services in our community and ideally we'll use the information to prioritize who needs housed first and to efficiently use our resources."
The homelessness count is a way for people to realize that the homeless population in Monongalia County is much bigger than most think.
"I think it's important to want to get involved," said Moultrie. "It doesn't necessarily mean you have to spend a lot of time or a huge time commitment, but just figuring out what you can do to help, because every little bit counts. Volunteering here, volunteering there, could change somebody's life."
Volunteers explained that the count should wrap up Wednesday evening.