There was a jump in the number of people who turned out Wednesday night for Santa Monica's 2013 Homeless Count.
More than 250 volunteers canvassed every street and alley well past midnight, counting how many homeless people were living on streets, in their cars and in shelters. There were about 200 volunteers last year.
"It seems like there are more volunteers every year," Jim Aubrey told Santa Monica Patch on Facebook. "It was a great time."
The results—which won't be released until Feb. 25—will be used by the city when applying for federal and state funds, and to guide city officials in choosing who and where to allocate social services.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires all communities receiving federal homelessness funds conduct a count every two years, the Santa Monica does its count annually.
The spike in volunteers "could be because this was a countywide count (i.e., not just Santa Monica counting) and there was a lot more advertising that included markets outside the City," said Natasha Guest of the city's human services department.
Last year, volunteers counted 769 homeless people. In 2010 and 2011, the number of homeless people in Santa Monica hovered at about 740. That's a significant drop since 2007, when the counts first began and volunteers noted 999.
"It's always fun to get involved and to help out your community," Aubrey said. "You also get to meet a lot of great people in the process."