SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Temperatures continue to drop toward the evening and people struggling with homelessness will be searching for shelter. Tonight, a local group will be working alongside local shelters to conduct a count of unsheltered and sheltered homeless people for 2023.

One of those is Grace United Church, which helped people today with a hot meal and signing up for shelter through the night. They are working with The Everyone Counts campaign to collect the numbers to qualify for grant programs that are based on the number of homeless people in the community.

“We have our point-in-time count, which is a federal mandate from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD,” said Emily Fessler, who works with the campaign. “It is meant to kind of provide a snapshot of the unsheltered individuals we have within our continuum of care.”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that many states had seen a rise in their homeless population since 2019. 

In 2022, Springfield’s homeless shelter population decreased by 25%, but many say they still need shelter in this winter weather.