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Count of Ocala, Marion County homeless population set

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Wrapped up in a hoodie and blanket to stay warm, Beth Worthington, a homeless woman, sat outside Brother's Keeper Soup Kitchen on Dec. 1.

Teams will fan out across Marion County on Jan. 27 to count unsheltered homeless people living outdoors alone and in homeless camps as part of the annual federally required Point In Time (PIT) count.

The count will be combined with the number of people living in emergency and transitional housing on the count day, and that grand total will become the basis for distribution of federal funds to a group of local help agencies known as the Continuum of Care.

Ashley Dobbs, marketing and communications manager of the City of Ocala Office of Strategic Engagement, stated in an email that due to the pandemic, the count will be abbreviated and counters will wear masks and be provided with sanitizer and wipes. Specific details of the count plan are pending approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

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