City conducts homeless census as temperatures drop - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

City conducts homeless census as temperatures drop

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

For most people, cold weather is just an inconvenience.

But for homeless people, the brutal temperatures could be a matter of life and death.

That is why 154 volunteers fanned out around Atlanta Thursday night.

Mayor Kasim Reed's office conducted a census of the city's homeless population to find out how many people are living on the streets.

The volunteers conducted 394 surveys over the course of the full 12 hours, including:

  • 6 a.m. Shelter Shift: 46 volunteers conducted 228 surveys
  • 12 a.m. Outdoor Shift: 108 volunteers conducted 166 surveys

Homeless people are vulnerable in the winter cold.

The temperatures are dangerous for people who have no place to go.

Damon Smith, an out-of-work handyman, has been living on the streets for more than seven months. He never thought he would end up with no place to live.

"Atlanta has a lot of homeless people out here, and it's sad," Smith said.

Reese McCranie, spokesman for Mayor Reed, said that volunteers are assessing the needs of the homeless and trying to find places for them to live.

"Our whole goal is to put people on a path toward sustainable housing," McCranie said. "Everyone out here on the streets all have unique stories. There's no one-size-fits-all solution, and we want to make sure we have the resources for their specific needs."

Smith said winter can be especially dangerous for homeless women and children.

"They're going through hell out here in this cold. You got some people out so cruel and won't let (them) come in."

The city conducted a census of the homeless population two years ago and found about 5,000 people living on the streets or in shelters.

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