Virus, other problems threaten to throw off homeless census


A man stands near tents set up on a sidewalk in San Francisco, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Some counties in California are pushing ahead with plans to wind down a program that’s housed homeless people in hotel rooms amid the pandemic, despite an emergency cash infusion from the state aimed at preventing those same residents from returning to the streets in cold, rainy weather as the virus surges. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

LAS VEGAS (AP) – When census takers tried to count the nation’s homeless population, they ran into many problems that could threaten the accuracy of the effort. That’s what a half dozen census takers around the U.S. are telling The Associated Press.

For instance, the homeless residents of stormwater tunnels below Las Vegas were left uncounted because of safety concerns. The situation could lead to an undercount in some communities and result in losses of political representation and federal money.

The homeless count was originally scheduled for last spring but got postponed to September because of concerns about the coronavirus.

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