2012 Annual Homeless Count is different - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

2012 Annual Homeless Count is different

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Homelessness can often be an unseen issue in the Tri-Cities, but it is there. Another part of the problem is identifying and locating people to get them help.

Thursday was the annual homeless time count. Homelessness is more than just living on the streets. It can be living in a car, an abandoned building, or day to day in a motel. A common form is couch surfing temporarily sleeping on someone's couch.

But according to coordinators, the federal government won't be counting those people because of a constant source for shelter.

That could put a dent in this years count. The difference may be more volunteers not being able to help homeless with their own stories of how they ended up on the streets, "one lady has physical ailments that doesn't allow her to work. She's college educated but she can't walk anymore and she's a single woman and she found herself homeless," explains  volunteer Vicki Smilie.

Volunteers say their biggest success in finding people were at motels and bus transfer stations.

The Benton Franklin Department of Human Services conducted this years count. Coordinators tell me they expect a much larger number over the 166 people found last year because of more volunteers.

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