City and county officials will attempt to count how many homeless people in Lodi are living in shelters or outside later this month.
The nationwide count is taken every two years and provides a snapshot of homelessness in America. For San Joaquin County, the count will ne held from Jan. 23 to 25.
The results of the count also determine U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding for programs that help homeless residents. Currently, the county receives $3.5 million annually.
In Lodi, the count will take place from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 23 at the Lodi Armory, 333 N. Washington St.
Volunteers from throughout the county will assist in filling out forms, handing out free lunches and providing services to residents who show up at the event.
During the count in 2011, the city had 68 sheltered homeless — 45 men and 23 women — and 26 unsheltered homeless — 22 men and four women.
The county is able to get statistics from the shelters about how many people they are serving, so the count is geared toward people who, for whatever reason, have remained out of the shelters, said Bill Mendleson, director of the Central Valley Low Income Housing Corp.
Throughout the years, Lodi homeless advocates have found it is easier to have residents come to a central location instead of trying to locate them individually in the community, Neighborhood Services Manager Joseph Wood said.
"We've had much better success with doing a stand-down type of operation where we have the services, the resources and the food and goodies available at one location," Wood said. "What's nice is we have a really good connection with community groups, so we can get the word out to our homeless population."
Students in the Salvation Army Culinary Program will provide a hot lunch, and each person will also receive a backpack with socks, underwear, a Mylar blanket and some non-perishable foods.
There will be a short questionnaire asking residents how long they have been homeless, whether they have any disabilities and if they have a source of income, Mendleson said.
Based on the findings, volunteers will be able to steer people to services available at the event, he said.
The Department of Motor Vehicles will be there to help residents get identification cards. Care Link will provide free health screenings.
Representatives from the San Joaquin County Human Services Agency, the San Joaquin County AIDS Foundation, Mental Health Services of San Joaquin County, Central Valley Low Income Housing Corporation and county Veterans Services will also be at the event.
All of the data gathered is compiled into a written report, including information from the other counts throughout the county.
On Jan. 24, there will be counts from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Tracy Community Center and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Manteca Library Park.
On Jan. 25, there will be a count in Stockton from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at St. Mary's Interfaith.