Volunteers try to get homeless count on a cold night

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — The mild weather gave way to a very cold night Tuesday but many homeless still chose to stay outside.

“I still see people laying on top of garbage covered with blankets, and it saddens me,” said Rosalin Augmon who has stayed at the Homeless Hospitality Center in New London.

“A lot of the people have mental illness that will not come into a shelter to be warm,” said Augmon.

There may be many reasons people choose to stay outside in so-called tent cities and other areas out in the elements. 55 volunteers in New London and Norwich went out Tuesday night to try to get a count of the homeless unsheltered and in shelters.

“They were in abandoned buildings, they were under bridges, they were in parking lots. So they really tried to go to places where homeless folks are staying,” said Annie Stockton, Community Impact Director for United Way of Southeastern Connecticut. She organized the count.

“That gives us a measure year to year what progress are we making?” said Cathy Zall, Director of the Homeless Hospitality Center.

The “Point-in-Time” count is done throughout the state the same time each year in an effort to end homelessness.

“We have business cards,” said Stockton. “We go out with hats, gloves, bus tickets.”

They also had a contingency plan to get people shelter right away if they wanted it.

“My shelter living is soon to be over,” said Augmon.

And that is the ultimate goal. Volunteers and social service workers conducted the count.

“It’s just it’s always overwhelming to see the number of people that want to be a part of this. That care about what’s going on in this community,” said Stockton.

The “Point-in-Time” count is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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