"I Count" Survey Aims to Identify and Help Homeless - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

"I Count" Survey Aims to Identify and Help Homeless

LAWTON Okla_ Hundreds of volunteers across Southwest Oklahoma joined together Wednesday for the second annual "I Count" homeless survey.

The 24-hour count started at midnight.

Once the homeless are identified, the volunteers tell them about the various locations they've set up to help them get food -- clothing -- and information about other services.

It is also aimed at helping homeless veterans get benefits that are owed to them.

The volunteers first off wanted to help the community but also had high respect for veterans and that is what made it that much more of an experience for them.

"Helping the veterans I mean there's nothing better than that.  They've given so much to the country and the community so it is an opportunity for us to help them," Mike Waxler said.

Waxler, a first time volunteer for I Count, said it is more than just giving them food and clothes, it is helping veterans get information.

"A lot of them have benefits they don't know about, so it's an opportunity for us to provide them some information, and they in turn can provide us with some information about themselves, where they stay, and what they need," Waxler said.

John Tallon, another first time volunteer, said that helping homeless veterans hits hard.

"They just happened to fall on hard times and it's not a decision they made something happened to them that caused them to be here.  I'd rather not see that happen to any veteran," Tallon said.

Tallon did meet one woman whose experience helps him know they are doing a good thing.

"One nice lady, she became homeless because of an addiction and I've met a few addicts in my life and it's nice to see that they are getting an opportunity to get better," Tallon said.

Tallon said the experience provides a dose of reality and a different perspective for people who have a house and job.

"This is a great opportunity for anyone that wants to get outside of our normal scope of duties and job descriptions, and actually get out here and make a difference. And hopefully everything we do did make a difference today," Tallon said.

Last year, "I Count" found close to 500 homeless in the 16 counties and even though they have helped many get new places to stay, they do expect around the same number this year.

 

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