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Volunteers Fan Out Across Philadelphia, Reaching Out To Homeless in Frigid Weather

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(Homeless people huddle under a highway overpass on the edge of Old City Philadelphia.  File photo by Dawn Pratson)

(Homeless people huddle under a highway overpass on the edge of Old City Philadelphia. File photo by Dawn Pratson)

Jim Melwert Jim Melwert
Jim is a "morning drive" reporter for KYW Newsradio 1060, bringing...
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By Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds of volunteers spent the night out in the bitter cold, counting the number of homeless people across Philadelphia.

This survey comes during the coldest month of January in a decade.

And despite the bitter temperatures, Laura Weinbaum, with Project Home, says 300 volunteers took part in the survey, starting late last night and going until after 3 o’clock this morning.

“It feels good,” she said afterward.  “It feels like you’re really doing something for somebody who really, really needs it.  I think that’s what attracts this many people to come out in the freezing cold in the middle of the night.”

She says that during the last snowstorm and cold snap, they brought indoors dozens of people who were still living outside.  And, with this survey, volunteers were down just about every street in the city to make sure no one is still out there.

Cities that receive federal funding for homeless services are required to do counts, Weinbaum says.  The survey takes it a step further, hoping to help find some solutions for people.

And, she says, this year they’re also focusing on veterans, children, and teens who are homeless.

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