At dawn, almost 300 volunteers went out into the community to better understand those less fortunate as part of the yearly Point in Time Homeless Count.
The count is a tool to establish goals to prevent and reduce homelessness by gathering data about those affected by it.
According to volunteer Tara Burchfield, information collected includes age, education level, and veteran status.
“The homeless count is important because it gives us a better idea of the needs that are in the community and it also explains a little more about the situation about how they’re living. A lot of these folks are very mamalao and they stay in the jungle. It helps us lobby for money for affordable housing and help connect them to resources that they may not know are available,” Burchfield said.
This was her first time volunteering for the count, which she says was an enlightening experience.
“It’s really nice because you get the opportunity to treat people who don’t have a good situation like a human. I think a really big issue here on the island is trying to break the stigma of people with mental illness who are homeless and seeing them as contributing factors to society,” Burchfield said.
Lieutenant Governor Joshua Tenorio, who also volunteered, stated in a release that the administration is working to open shelters and increase resources to help the island’s homeless population.