by Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds of volunteers spanned into every zip code in Philadelphia this morning to figure out how many people are living on the streets.
It’s part of the city’s annual Point in Time count.
The Point in Time count is performed each year in cities across America, it’s when volunteers count the number of people living in spaces not fit for human habitation.
“Sometimes it’s around police stations, transit stations, under bridges,” said Liz Hersh, Director of the Office of Homeless Services for the city.
She says 250 volunteers began working around 3am. They gave out care packages and surveyed those living on the street.
And while the final numbers won’t be available until the spring, Hersh says there is a trend.
“We know that the opiate crisis is having an impact. We are seeing a higher number of people who are experiencing addiction problems,” she said.
In 2016, the city’s PIT count found 705 people living on the streets; that’s up from 670 in 2015.
Last year, about 5,400 people were living in emergency, transitional, or safe haven housing.