Volunteers work to count the homeless in West Tennessee - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Justin Hanson

Volunteers work to count the homeless in West Tennessee

FAYETTE COUNTY, TN (WMC-TV) - Because more and more people are losing their jobs and their homes during this tough economic time, there's now an effort underway to count the homeless population in West Tennessee. 

Ron Beyer is hitting the streets of Fayette County looking for those who have no home.

"Having seen the deplorable conditions people live in -- its become a calling," he said.

Beyer and his wife, Margaret, are regular volunteers at Fayette Cares, a non for profit that helps those in need.

This homeless count is necessary for shelter staff to get more federal money to provide better services.

"Do we need to expand our services?  What kinds of services do we need to be providing more?"  Amy Willadsen with Fayette Cares asked.

As volunteers search for homeless residents, they're always surprised at what they find.  During last year's homeless count, volunteers found an elderly man living in a school bus outside Somerville. Volunteers say inhumane living conditions like this aren't unusual in rural areas.

"I sit home in front of my 32-inch TV set in my nice warm house never thinking of someone living in a bus like that," Beyer said.

"What we see are situations where people have made make shift homes," Willadsen added.
Makeshift-turned-permanent places of residence for people who are much more than a number.

From 6pm Tuesday to 6pm Thursday, volunteers will count the homeless population of every West Tennessee county - the numbers will then be turned over to the federal government.

Click here to send an email to Justin Hanson.

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