Annual Lower Shore Homeless Count Held - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Annual Lower Shore Homeless Count Held

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Homeless man in Salisbury (Photo: WBOC) Homeless man in Salisbury (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- The Homeless Alliance of the Lower Shore conducted its annual count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people in Somerset, Worcester, and Wicomico counties on Thursday.  The goal of the annual count is get a better understanding of the homeless situation on the shore and use the data to help increases services to the tri-county area.

Thursday, volunteers were hard at work as they always are at the HALO facility on South Boulevard in Salisbury.  Late morning, the volunteers were preparing lunch for an expected crowd of hungry people in need.  In shelters like HALO on the lower shore, the amount of people in need has grown recently, according to Greta Rolland, the HMIS system administrator for the Homeless Alliance of the Lower Shore.

"We're seeing about 1000 people a year in shelters which is a lot of people.  A couple of years ago, we were seeing about 750 people in a year," Rolland told WBOC on Thursday.

The increase in the homeless population only emphasized the importance of the annual count for the Homeless Alliance.  Thursday afternoon, while people in need were being served lunch at Halo, volunteers with the Alliance were out canvassing Worcester, Wicomico, and Somerset counties for homeless people.  

"To try and see if they will give us information so that we can determine how many people are out there.  See if the numbers have increased or decreased so that we can get services to help them," Rolland said.

Rolland said normally the Alliance will find about 50 unsheltered people during the annual count but there are many more that are hidden and cannot be found. Rolland emphasized the homeless issue is much larger than simply the people we can see on street corners holding cardboard signs.  Many are hidden in camps or in the woods and in the very rural areas of Worcester and Somerset counties, those people are incredibly difficult to find.  

So as the Alliance tries to get a head count and provide for the people in need, volunteers at shelters like HALO will continue to make soups, salads, and sandwiches for lunch and hope that over time, fewer and fewer people come to eat them. 

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