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HART’s Annual Homeless Count Of Region Begins Tuesday

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
HART’s Annual Homeless Count Of Region Begins Tuesday

The Homeless Advocacy of Rural Tennessee (HART) will be conducting its annual homeless count starting Tuesday.

This point in time count provides a snapshot of the region’s sheltered and unsheltered homeless population. HART Board Member Tina Lomax said the data is used to gauge the federal funding needed for homeless programs.

“From the Upper Cumberland area, we are looking at around 700 people that are homeless that are actually unsheltered,” Lomax said. “So yes, this is a problem even in rural areas.”

Lomax said COVID has made counting even more needed. Lomax said many homeless shelters are at capacity or limiting beds due to the pandemic.

“Because of trying to keep social distanced,” Lomax said. “The pandemic has played a huge part in homelessness overall for people losing their housing, getting evicted, things like that, as well.”

Changes have also been made to how counting will happen. Lomax said usually, volunteers conduct interviews, but this year they will observe to gather information.

“There’s two different kinds of counts that we will be doing,” Lomax said. “We will be doing a sheltered count, which those are individuals that are in shelters, and we count those as being homeless, but they are counted as sheltered. The unsheltered homeless would be those that are living in cars, living in encampments, living in abandoned buildings, living in hotel spaces that are paid for by agencies. Just living outside in general.”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires the count to be made each year. Lomax said the organization has filed all volunteer spots required for the day.


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