MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — As the federal government prepares for next year's census, another important count is underway here in Florida.
On Tuesday morning, Martin County Deputy Joe Angelico looked around at a homeless camp in Jensen Beach. He’s out with Martin County Health and Human Services, trying to get a head count on the area's homeless population.
"Some of them are trying to get jobs," said Deputy Angelico. "Some have physical problems or mental health problems or a combination of both."
The homeless population is down statewide over the past five years, and those trends hold true in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
"It could be because it was rainy and cold and some of the camps were underwater, or it could be because we’re getting our jobs done with these services and getting the numbers down," said Emily Silver with Martin County Health and Human Services.
Some though, decline any help.
"They would rather stay where they’re at. It’s what they know , it’s what they’re comfortable with," said Deputy Angelico.
So when the connections are not made where the homeless live, it’s important to make connections where the homeless go.
Pastor Guy Calvert of Jensen Beach Christian Church met with the team on Tuesday to help out with their annual survey and to offer advice.
"I think the best success we’ve had is reuniting them with their families. If we can get them back with their families, that’s huge," said Pastor Calvert.
Clyde Beckett understands the challenges of being homeless. He's a volunteer at the church who spent two years living in the woods.
"What they need is, they need some sort of a shelter," said Beckett.
Perhaps a future goal for this partnership.