Survey helps City of Mesa determine ways to prevent homelessness

About 150 volunteers gathered early this morning in Mesa for the annual Point in Time Homeless Count.

Michelle Albanese is the director of housing and community development for the City of Mesa and explains why this is so important year after year.

"The purpose is to go out into the community and take a snapshot of those individuals that are living on the streets that are sheltered, unsheltered and to really find out about their needs and the root cause of their chronic homelessness," she said.

The survey will provide vital information so the city can provide services and programs to best fit their needs and hopefully find ways to help curb the problem.

It also helps the city with both federal and state money for programs.

"Federal funding is based on data and that's why census' are so important and that's why this event today is so important," Albanese said. "We want to get out in front of homelessness as best we can and in order to do that, we have to have good data in order to get the funding from the federal and state. We have to have data as well."

John Giles has been the mayor of Mesa since 2014 and says homelessness is an issue that continues to be a big problem in the community.

"We're trying to find out what it is, but it's not unique to Mesa, but it is certainly an issue we want to deal with here," he said.