St. Louis Counting Homeless in New Census

ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)– The city of St. Louis has started a new census, trying to count all of the city’s homeless.

For most of us, homeless people are invisible people. Not to the city, as they begin an annual search for every homeless person they can find.

Tanya Martin used to walk by the homeless downtown without a thought. She lost her job and her home. Along with her 2-year-old granddaughter, Tanya’s homeless herself.

In 2005, there were around 2,000 homeless people like Tanya in St. Louis. Now the number’s closer to 1,300. The city counts them every year about this time.

The idea behind the census is to count the number of homeless in the city, trying to figure out programs to get them out of unsafe conditions, like this temporary camp south of downtown, and into more permanent housing.

That’s done with federal grants. And the grants depend on the numbers. Thus, the annual homeless head count, trying to find help for people like Tanya Martin and her granddaughter.

The city census takers visited 50 different locations in the city Wednesday, counting the homeless.