Hundreds of trained volunteers will fan out tonight for a census of men and women living without shelter.By Cherri Gregg

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds of trained volunteers will fan out throughout Philadelphia tonight to count the number of homeless men and women living on the streets. It’s part of HUD’s annual effort to determine actual need for homeless funding.

The Point in Time – or PIT count – is a census of all unsheltered men and women in the city on one night in January. While counting the number of people inside of shelters is pretty easy, the tough part is counting those who refuse to come inside.

“You find people in places where you would never expect to find a human being or any living creature,” says Carol Thomas, director of homeless services at Project Home.

She says 300 volunteers will spend 4 to 5 hours scouring Philadelphia’s parks, subways, all-night convenience store parking lots and dark alleys, conducting surveys to find out exactly who is on the street.

“We ask their age, if someone has a particular disability,” she says.

Last year, the PIT count identified more than 5700 homeless in the city. That was a 15% decrease from the previous year.

If you see someone who’s homeless, call the hotline at 215-232-1984.