Philadelphia conducts new homeless census

Posted: May 19, 2012

In an attempt to get a more complete picture of homelessness in Philadelphia, more than 50 volunteers fanned out to all corners of the city Wednesday night and counted 583 people living on the streets.

Usually, the city only includes Center City, Philadelphia International Airport, and a few select neighborhoods in its quarterly count of unsheltered homeless people. But this time, more people were enlisted to reach more areas of the city.

“We moved into every zip code,” said Debbie Plotnick, an advocate for the Mental Health Association for Southeastern Pennsylvania.

This was the second recent attempt to take a citywide census of the homeless street population. Last May, as part of a national effort to survey homeless individuals called 100,000 Homes, volunteers counted and interviewed 528 people living on the streets.

The Mental Health Association collaborated with Project HOME to conduct the homeless count for the city’s Office of Supportive Housing. Plotnick said the groups would like to continue conducting citywide counts in the future.

Contact Jennifer Lin at 215-854-5659 or jlin@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @j_linq.

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