Many of us think it is the big cities like Milwaukee and Chicago that have a homeless population. But there is actually one here in NorthCentral Wisconsin. The United Way headed out with volunteers Wednesday night to count the number of homeless people.
"There is definitely evident in there..."
Four volunteers searched a section of Wausau to find out just how many people are living on the streets.
"Providing them with blankets, food, resources and important stuff to get them in a better place," Brady Copas said.
This was Brady Copas's first time on the homeless count. He's a community service officer with the Wausau Police Department and says, he sees our homeless population almost every day.
"On a day to day basis you do come across people who are struggling with a place to live," Brady said, "they're all in a place where they're trying to improve their lives."
One area they checked, the railroad tracks underneath the Thomas Street bridge. While they didn't find any people, the signs of homelessness were obvious. So they left a bag of supplies: water, bus tokens and restaurant coupons.
In the first three ours of the search, this team found two homeless men sleeping under a pavilion near the Wisconsin River.
This man says he's been homeless for four year, and just hit a rough patch.
"I don't want to be here anymore than you would...," he said.
20-year-old Pang Yang volunteered for the second time Wednesday night. She says even bringing them simple supplies means a lot.
"It definitely shows them that the community wants to help out," Pang said, "but you know, I feel like there is more the community can do for them."
Pang says there is still a stigma in our community that those experiencing homelessness aren't our problem. But she hopes with time, more of us will understand their struggles and volunteer to help.
"You just have to be open and not be too quick to judge," Pang said.
If you'd like to get involved, check out the United Way of Marathon County
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