TAMPA — At least 500 volunteers are needed to help conduct Hillsborough County's annual homeless count next month.
The one-day count of homeless people in the county runs from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. Feb. 27. Organizers say the information is vital to understanding the needs of homeless individuals and families, where they are staying and the effectiveness of efforts to end homelessness.
"This year we are truly 'counting to end homelessness,' " said a statement from Maria Barcus, CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative.
Volunteer groups of no less than three people per group will conduct the count throughout the county. The federal government usually requires communities to do their homeless counts at the end of January, but it gave Hillsborough special dispensation because that would have conflicted with the large Gasparilla Pirate Fest.
Volunteers can sign up at www.homelessofhc.org. High school students can volunteer if accompanied by a parent or guardian. And all volunteers must get training before the event. Call (813) 223-6115 for more details.