Volunteers Count Homeless Overnight

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Local volunteers hit the streets overnight, to count the homeless. The census is required by the federal government every year. and it was a cold night for volunteers who were working to not only count the homeless, but to bring them in out of the cold. Volunteers scoured the streets for hours, but in the end they were able to round up a handful of people and convinced them to take shelter from the cold here at the VOA.

Patrick Patterson and his team of volunteers are warming up after braving the cold to complete the annual census of the homeless in Lansing.

"What we found so far was 9 people out. We convinced five to come in. We failed to convince four to come in," said Patrick Patterson, the Executive Director of the VOA.

Because of the frigid temperatures, the Volunteers of America have set up warming center for those who agreed to come in. Those who refused received survival kits.

"It's disappointing to not get everybody in, but we've seen a lot of saves over the years, as well, that started with these relationships. Sometimes that's all it takes," said Patterson.

Dozens of volunteers from various organizations came out to try to help.

"Biggest turn out we've ever had. More bodies make for a quicker, more thorough count," said Patterson.

The results of the count help the federal government and non-profit organizations determine what resources are needed in the area.

Those in shelters or transitional housing are also part of the count. Organizers told me they usually don't wrap up until around 6 AM, but today they were done around 2 because of all the volunteers who came out to help.