The Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County will conduct a census to determine the number and needs of the homeless in the county. Volunteer teams of will hit the streets, shelters, hospitals and meal programs on Thursday, October 30, to undertake this effort.

Rayme Nuckles is the Chief Executive Officer of the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County. He said that the number of Hillsborough’s homeless increased by 11% from 2001 to 2002, and said that, based on discussions with service providers to the homeless, he expects this year’s tally of the homeless to be even higher.

Nuckles said that an increasing number of the homeless include women and children:

Nuckles re:women and kids

In addition, Nuckles told WMNF that numerous veterans of Vietnam and even of the Persian Gulf War are among the homeless, and that many homeless vets suffer from mental illness.

Nuckles re:vets

The Homeless Coalition reported that there is already a shortage of 15,000 units of affordable housing in Hillsborough County:

Nuckles re:affordable housing

Nuckles said that many people mistakenly believe that homeless people want to be homeless. He urges the public to educate themselves about the homeless problem and to volunteer with organizations that help the homeless, which are listed on the group’s website, www.ofhc.org. The census data is due to be released to the public on December 4.

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