KILLEEN (January 24, 2012)--About two-dozen members of the Killeen Police Department's KCOP program and volunteers from Texas A&M University-Central Texas took to the streets of Killeen Thursday to survey the homeless as part of a program called "The Point in Time Count."
The survey focuses on the number of people who are experiencing homelessness, the circumstance that led them there and where they're staying.
Organizers hope the updated information will lead to more resources and funding to help the homeless.
"It's very important so that we can keep count of how many homeless people we have in our area and also that we can be able to work with the community, the city and the county to promote programs that we can help them to be self-sufficient," said Maria Foster with the Killeen HELP Center.
The survey Thursday found an increase in homelessness, particularly among veterans.
Of 46 completed surveys Thursday, 15 people identified themselves as veterans.
"These numbers are higher than the previous year, but it could be weather-related and more people are out and about on a nice day like today as opposed to last year when it was cold and rainy," said Leslie Hinkle with the City of Killeen.
"However, the increase in these numbers indicates that community-based services are needed in our community to assist people who are experiencing homelessness."
The services may include housing, job training, and medical care, transportation, she said.
Cities nationwide are participating in similar counts this year and will report the data to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.