The annual count of homeless people in Corpus Christi shows a steady increase in the homeless population over the last several years.

Volunteers began this year's count Thursday morning, and even though it varies a little from year to year, officials said they do see it continuing to grow.

"Last year was 611, and that was up from the year before. And what we noticed last year is we focused on people not staying in shelters, so our homeless numbers for people not staying in a shelter last year was about 200, which is up quite a bit from the year before," said Jesse Elizondo, President of the Homeless Issues Partnership.

Teams of volunteers fan out to different shelters to interview each homeless person that may have slept at a shelter or who might be waiting for breakfast.

"Today we're doing our annual point in time count. It happens all over the nation and what we're doing today is going out into the community and meeting with individuals that are experiencing homelessness and finding out what their needs are. And then try to find out if those needs are being met," Elizondo said.

The count is required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and it also helps determine how much federal aid a community could get to address the problems of the homeless.

According to Elizondo, the climate is the reason that many of those homeless choose to live in the Coastal Bend.

Officials began other counts Thursday afternoon and evening at area shelters.

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