San Francisco Human Services Agency
readies for homeless count
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
January 31, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - With more than double the usual
amount of volunteers ready to canvas San Francisco for the biannual
homeless count Wednesday, officials are predicting the most accurate
count to date.
Trent Rhorer, director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency,
said more than 400 volunteers and around 75 paid city employees
plan to reach every corner of the city.
The count is required in order for the city to receive $15 million
in federal money, but Rohrer said that the agency plans to go
above and beyond federal guidelines.
Besides counting the unsheltered homeless on the streets and
in parks, volunteers also tally the homeless in shelters, transitional
housing, hospitals, treatment centers and jails, Rohrer said.
The last homeless count in 2004 netted 2,655 homeless on the
streets and 6,248 total. Those numbers were down from 2002 numbers
in which 4,535 homeless were found on the streets and 8,640 found
Many local leaders who said the agency used methods to mitigate
the homeless numbers criticized the 2005 count.
"Criticism in the past is that the methodology is flawed,
but a Board of Supervisors legislative analyst report found we
were well in step with federal guidelines," Rohrer said.
Director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency Trent Rohrer
But Rohrer did admit that it's not possible to get a completely
accurate count because many homeless live temporarily in friends'
homes and many who are on the verge of homelessness slip through
This year's count is expected to cover the whole city. Police
are also expected to play a role by providing security, along
with the parks and recreation department, for the hundreds of
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