WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — There's 1,500 homeless people in Palm Beach County and more than 1,000 who are unsheltered. That leaves many who likely are unregistered to vote and haven't completed the U.S. Census.
Now, there's a march this weekend to make sure they are represented.
"Just because I sleep in a park, behind buildings and don't have a home does not mean I can't be counted for," said Francky Pierre-Paul, founder and CEO of a Different Shade of Love, Inc.
This weekend, Pierre-Paul's non-profit joins other non-profits and the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County to March for the Homeless.
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"We're marching for solidarity and for a change," Pierre-Paul said.
Voter registration and completion of the U.S. Census will start at Currie Park Sept. 12 from 11 to noon. Then the march moves approximately 2 miles from the park to 45th Street, across from the Sen. Philip D. Lewis Center where voter registration and completion of the U.S. Census continues.
"We want to prepare voters so they can vote for what they believe will be best for them and the community's future," said Ashley Cacicedo, League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County board member.
Cacicedo said voter residency when registering to vote can be a shelter or other location the homeless person frequents.
"The Lord's Place, St. Ann Catholic Church, the Lewis Center and there are also several other churches in the county that they can utilize as their address, Cacicedo said. "Receiving the voter information card takes about two to three weeks."
Meanwhile, the county is preparing to send Homeless Outreach Teams (HOT) to regions the homeless frequent Sept. 22 through Sept. 24.
"They'll be going to encampments throughout the county, said James Green, Palm Beach County Community Services director.
"When each person completes the census that brings about $1,600 per individual to this county. So, over a span of 10 years it's around $16,000 per individual. If we look at the total population of Palm Beach County, we're looking at $24 billion over the next ten years, and that is enormous, so we need everyone to complete their Census forms."