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Volunteers get count of Triangle homeless

Posted January 24, 2012

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— Volunteers involved in a nationwide effort to reach out to the homeless hit the streets in Wake and Orange counties early Wednesday to find people who need housing and other help.

The United Way of the Greater Triangle is organizing the 100,000 Homes Initiative locally. Officials estimate 2,000 people live on the streets in the Triangle, but organizers hope the count will give them better information as to where and how the homeless are living.

Volunteer Jim Green said he got involved with the effort because his brother has been homeless in the past.

"It's affected my family and me ... It's an emotional connection for me," Green said. "Hopefully, we can start identifying the people who are most at risk of dying on the street, and we can use that information to try and get them housing."

He and others gathered at 4 a.m. with some food and supplies and ventured out in the darkness with Raleigh police to search areas where the homeless often congregate.

Checking the woods around some downtown businesses, they came across abandoned camps, discarded bottles and a smoldering fire.

Homeless count Homeless count will help nonprofits provide services

In addition to handing out supplies, volunteers tried to gather information from the homeless, including details about their health and daily nutrition, how often they get medical attention and what led to them living on the streets.

Jim Dooley said he's lived near some south Raleigh railroad tracks for six years and has no intention of leaving.

"I don't live in shelters. I don't deal with them," Dooley told the volunteers.

The 100,000 Homes Initiative will compile information nationwide and use that data to better direct services to those in need.

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  • ProudBlackSingleMother Jan 25, 2012

    If these guys actually kept their camps clean of litter, I would have less problem with them. The one woman with a hard hat and baseball bat actually lives in the bushes only during the day, she lives in a halfway house on Martin Street.

    What will it take to clean up Moore Square? Raleigh Rescue Mission has ruined it!!!

  • Crumps Br0ther Jan 25, 2012

    Did they remember to count the one who lives in the bushes at Moore Sqaure Park? She wears a hard hat and has a baseball bat

  • Rdubya Jan 25, 2012

    You can spend the money on new housing for poor people and the homeless, or you can spend it on a football stadium or a golf course.

  • damos Jan 24, 2012

    I took one to McDonalds to buy him a meal. After we ordered what we wanted, I opened my wallet and had no cash, I had forgotten to go to the bank that day. He says no problem, and pulls out a big wad of cash. I thought I was helping someone who was down-and-out, and he had a lot more cash in his pocket than I usually have in my wallet.

  • damos Jan 24, 2012

    One homeless guy, a crack addict I became good friends with has lived under a bridge for 15 years. He said he could never live in a house again, he would feel too confined.

  • damos Jan 24, 2012

    I have worked with the homeless, and believe me, the vast majority of them choose that lifestyle. In fact in about 5 years, I only found ONE person that wanted a hand up, not a hand out. Their reasons vary, but the majority of them have addictions, mental problems, or both. And since most of the shelters won't allow drunks, they camp in the woods. Most of them have told me that they like their lifestyle, an endless camping trip. As one told me, "as long as I can panhandle enough money every day for a 12 pack and a couple of hamburgers, I am happy. Why would I want to change?" And make no doubt about about it people, when you give to panhandlers, almost all of that money goes to alcohol or drugs. Experts say the best thing we can do for them is not support them and allow them to continue that lifestyle. Only when they hit rock bottom will they seek help. I could go on and on ..................

  • hunter38 Jan 24, 2012

    Wow...maybe I should just quit my job....quit paying my mortgage and become homeless so the United Way can find me a free place to live....wonderful. Never knew life could be that easy.

  • smegma Jan 24, 2012

    what's wrong with a trailer? it's a home.

  • loprestw Jan 24, 2012

    Wonder why I never see illegals homeless? Because they work and do any type of work they can find and pay rent. Yes they live in trailers but they find jobs and find a home to live in!! Quit providing for these lazy things and I guarentee you they will find a job or Darwins theory will happen and they will fade away. Then the world will be a little better!

  • pooodaddy Jan 24, 2012

    I have a house next to me that is vacant. I bet the homeless would be better tenants then the last few renters we've had. All they did was sell drugs and have a daycare out of the garage.