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SALT LAKE CITY — Volunteers spent Friday connecting with those who are experiencing homelessness in the Salt Lake Valley. It's part of the Point-In-Time Count.
From Thursday through Saturday, 200 volunteers strong will canvass the Salt Lake Valley in search of people experiencing homelessness to learn what they're going through.
"How long have they been homeless? What might they need to get in a better situation," said Rob Wesemann, co-chair of Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness.
The answers are tough to hear.
"Unfortunately, one thing we hear quite a bit is folks have been homeless a fairly long time," said Wesemann.
But they're important. Volunteers use an app to record the info and county leaders pass that information on to federal agencies.
"Part of our report to HUD is that we're telling them what's happening in our community and they do provide funding for affordable housing, case management, those kinds of pieces," said Wesemann.
It's been an eye-opening experience for Emma Taylor.
"We've got blankets, gloves, hand warmers, food."
This is the first time the University of Utah student has been part of the Point-In-Time Count.
"I think it's a different experience that you normally get with the homeless population. Because you're actually seeking them out trying to have a conversation, learn about their experience a little bit," said Taylor.
Short exchanges that could turn out to be life-changing.
"They've had experiences just like you and I and we approach them with empathy and compassion," said Wesemann.