Looking Out For Others

By Nick Perreault

January 27, 2011 Updated Jan 27, 2011 at 11:19 PM CDT

This year, Illinois Continuum Care Members expect to have around 20 volunteers travel about the community and record the number of homeless people and their demographics.

The information is used to assess the extent of the problem and used when applying for grants.

"This is the first time I've done this so I'm anxious to go out there and find out where some of the people hang out ," said Dir. Vocational Services for Goodwill, Bill Bontemps.

Bill Bontemps and Rich Glavin teamed up to search for the homeless in Peoria. First they checked the streets and then old abandoned buildings.

Bontemps and Glavin even got on their hands and knees and looked inside some old machines.

"Thinking of security that's a place you could be at, where there is limited access. For a lot of homeless the security factor is more important than comfort," Glavin said.

Nearly two hours into their search they found blankets and food, but no people. But Rich and Bill don't find this as a disappointment.

"I'm hoping it is a success that Peoria is doing a good job putting people up in shelters, during this kind of weather," Glavin said.

"This population has a tendency to be mobile too, so the homeless people here may not be here in two or three months, so we may have a new bunch of people coming in, so where always going to be out there looking for them," Bontemps said.

The search also took place in Fulton, Woodford and Tazewell Counties. The Illinois Continuum expects 450 emergency beds throughout the four counties to be full of people needing a place to keep warm.

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