CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - The group Continuum of Care for Lake Charles and southwest Louisiana started counting the homeless today at Abraham's Tent in Calcasieu parish and the Council on Aging in Cameron parish.
After only a few hours, volunteers were already noticing an increase from last year.
The 2012 "Point-in-Time Homeless Count Survey" kicked-off Tuesday across Louisiana. The Calcasieu medical reserve corps joined with volunteers at Abraham's tent to perform the annual census. This is volunteer Nancy Curtis's first year helping with the count.
"It opens my eyes to what, what they're going through, you know," Curtis said. "Usually you think, oh they're over there whatever, you know, but they have needs just like everybody else."
Coordinator Angela Jouett says that while she noticed an increase in numbers already, the homeless individuals are gracious of their efforts.
"What's amazing about it, they're happy about it, we just had one guy," said Joett. "We gave him a bag of stuff, and he came back and said give it to somebody else because I have enough stuff."
The homeless are asked about health issues, what they are in need of, and where they have been staying. Curtis said volunteering is just as rewarding for her as it is for those in need.
"It gives you purpose in life, really," said Curtis. "Especially when I retired last year, I'm like ok I got to do something, I can't just sit around, so it gives you a purpose."
Just like the regular census, this count is used to bring in the needed funding for the area homeless.
"I'm thankful that we can do that, and I want to do more for them," said Curtis.
The homeless counting continues tomorrow at the Council on Aging in both Jeff Davis and Allen parish. It wraps up Thursday at Beauregard parish's Council on Aging.