TOPEKA (KSNT) — Topeka Police teamed up with local outreach groups for the annual Point-in-Time Count Wednesday.
They were gathering information about an issue that affects a growing number of Kansans.
“There’s homeless all over, they’re everywhere, people are desperate, searching for some place to give them shelter and safety,” said Marta Murphy, and Outreach Case Manager for Valeo Behavioral Health Care.
It’s an issue Sergeant Ron Ekis encounters almost every day.
“I come across people pan-handling out there, trying to get money from passing motorists along the highway or along Wanamaker, so I’d say it’s a problem that needs to be addressed,” said Sgt. Ekis.
That’s why they’re out pounding the pavement and conducting this annual count of all the homeless in the area. Connecting with them and making sure their needs are being met, b ut because of the warm weather Wednesday, they say it was tough to find them.
Those who work with the homeless and transients say there are hundreds in need.
“It’s important that we locate these individuals to be sure and include them in the count because that’s then what generates the resources for the state of Kansas and the City of Topeka,” said Murphy.
And that means money to provide shelter, mental health services, and even rehabilitation through operations like Valeo.
The money comes from the Federal government and is based on the numbers they find each year…so they need an accurate count.
“We don’t want those programs to end because we have a good success rate of reaching out to a number of different folks and ending that homelessness through various programs,” said Brad Sloan of Valero Behavioral Health.
So they’re reaching out to everyone they can find, offering their services and a friendly smile.
The information gathered Wednesday will be turned over to the homeless task force in Shawnee County.