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Amarillo surveys city homeless population

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AMARILLO - The city of Amarillo is taking steps to end a problem facing thousands of panhandle residents...Homelessness.
     
Thursday all Texas cities had officials on the streets conducting a survey that could help solve that problem.

Right now city workers are counting all the surveys they took today. They will be submit them to HUD, who will eventually compile national homeless statistics.
    
The idea behind Amarillo's point-in-time count and survey is that the only way to solve the problem is to know what exactly is causing it.

"Being from the outside looking in, you think you know what the needs are, but the best to way to know what the needs are is to is to ask the persons that are experiencing the situation," said Amarillo Director of Community Development James Allen said. "So we do a quick survey that asks the homeless things that help us to address their needs better."
      
Every city across the country that receives federal dollars to help homeless people is required to count their homeless population sometime within the last 10 days of January, and every Texas city did it today.

"Texas just chose to be a little bit more cohesive," Allen said. "That way it covers when a person may move from one city to another and they're not double counted. This way everyone's doing it at the same time so we feel like we get as accurate a count of the state as possible."

The city of Amarillo spread the word to all shelters and organizations that work with the less fortunate about the importance of today's head count. The yes or no questions on the survey help the city figure out what kind of programs are in demand, and the outcome of those surveys will effect how much help will be available to the homeless this year.

"Specifically for the city of Amarillo, we don't want to under-count because we want to get any available funding that's out there in order to address the issue of homelessness here in the city," Allen said.

The homeless population in Amarillo has gradually increased over the years, and the current number will be released sometime next week. 

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