PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Teams of shelter workers and volunteers took to the streets Wednesday night to survey all of the homeless people living in the the city.
It's called the Point In Time Survey. In order to get Housing and Urban Development funding for services, cities around the country are charged with going out for one night in January and taking a survey of all the homeless people in the community.
This year, in Portland, shelters are breaking records. Earlier this month, the Oxford Street Shelter served 280 people in one night. Last Friday, Preble Street fed 500 people in its soup kitchen.
Oxford Street Shelter Assistant Director Rob Parritt says, the Point In Time Survey is as much about outreach and community awareness as it is about information.
"Our most vulnerable friends and neighbors and families are really struggling like they've never struggled before, and seeing record numbers," Parritt said. "Not just in the Portland community but the greater Portland community they really need to know that it's an epidemic. It's not just a downtown problem, out of sight out of mind for people. It's a community-wide issue that people need to know about."
Last year, HUD reported decreasing numbers of homeless veterans and people experiencing long-term, chronic homelessness nationwide. The City of Portland expects to record higher numbers this year than last year.