Crews find 13 homeless in Wausau

Published: Jul. 28, 2016 at 7:36 AM CDT
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Local police and volunteers found 13 people living on the streets of Wausau during the Point-In-Time Count, which is done statewide twice a year.

Crews gathered at First United Methodist Church before heading out around 11 p.m. Wednesday evening. They searched for homeless until about 3 a.m. Thursday. Crews searched in Merrill, Marshfield, Wisconsin Rapids and found no one, but in Wausau, 13 people were found living in the streets.

"Homelessness is an issue here in Central Wisconsin," Jeff Sargent, the Executive Director of the North Center Community Outreach Program. "On any given night, you're looking at shelters being full, last night alone we probably had 100 people between the count and shelters that were out there, that are considered homeless by definition."

Especially with the rain, volunteers thought more people would have found shelter. Pam Anderson of the Housing and Homelessness Coalition said it was surprising.

"With the rain, we really thought that more people would find friends to stay with," said Anderson. "The 13 number was much, much higher that what we thought we were going to find."

The Point-In-Time Count helps the Coalition's 10 Year Plan to end homelessness,

"It gives us a better understanding of what we need to do as a community to make sure that people do not become homeless," Anderson said.

Volunteers learn more about the issues through surveys that are conducted when homeless are found. Through the surveys they ask things like: where been sleeping the last couple of nights, what led them to becoming homeless, if they are a veteran, were incarcerated, or have a mental illness.

This afternoon those in need can head to the Salvation Army where they can find more help and resources.