Annual Homeless Count to be conducted January 22-29 in Cherokee, Pickens, Forsyth, and Dawson Counties

CANTON, GA (Jan. 16, 2024) – Homelessness in the United States soared by 12% to more than 650,000 people during a single-night count at the start of 2023, reflecting a surge in first-time homelessness. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development stated in a new assessment of the homeless population provided to Congress that on a single night in January 2023, roughly 653,100 people — or about 20 of every 10,000 people in the United States — were experiencing homelessness.

UPI REPORT: “Homelessness surged by 12% to more than 650,000 in 2023, HUD report says” by Don Jacobson

FOX NEWS REPORT: “Veteran homelessness sees largest spike in 12 years, VA reports: ‘We have failed,’ laments Army vet” by Angelica Stabile

The annual nationwide Homeless Point in Time (PIT) count, which identifies both sheltered and unsheltered homeless across the country including Cherokee and neighboring Pickens, Forsyth, and Dawson counties, is being planned for the week of January 22nd to January 29th, according to Jim Lindenmayer, Director of the Cherokee County Homeless Veterans program. The count strategy, including dates and teams for the four counties in preparation for this annual event, is being finalized.

The approach to the count, is to have ground teams, mobile teams, and telephone outreach programs to all food pantries, churches, motels, retail establishments, schools and other areas to identify areas where homeless people may be found. In addition, plans are being worked on to assist the homeless population, especially those who are Veterans, once they are located.

Teams will be out early in the mornings of the planned counts as most homeless people are active early in the morning. The majority of teams are made up of a Veterans from the various counties and include a non-Veteran team, led by Marianne Butler from the Cherokee Homeless Coalition.

The results of the outreach will be reported to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and will be rolled up into the National HUD report that goes to Congress later in the year. These counts are important as they lead to program funding to address ways of ending homelessness.

This program and the Veteran participation are key to us, noted Lindenmayer, as 40% of all homeless Veterans suffer from some type of mental illness. A Veteran mental health program covering all four of the counties targeted has just gone live and the hope is to get any homeless Veteran suffering from mental health issues into this program as well as off the streets.

For more information, please contact Jim Lindenmayer at




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