Searchers that went out early this morning found some homeless people and even more evidence that they're sleeping and living outdoors in the Mum City.
The final tally was 31, which is an educated guess, based on the people they spoke with and the stuff they saw -- tents, bins of belongings, even a doghouse. They found that people were living in Rockwell Park, on the railroad tracks, in the woods, in cars and more.
Marge Rivera, a caseworker at The Salvation Army who helped organize the count, guessed they'd find 13-15 people by looking in all the usual places. She said she was a little surprised to find twice that many. She said they were able to interview eight people. That's a lot compared to the three or four people they spoke with over the winter count in 2009.
The local effort searches typical places where homeless people are known to stay. The statewide point in time count, which tries to count all the unsheltered homeless in a single couple of hours, uses a formula that to me, doesn't make much sense, at least in Bristol.
Anyway, that's not what happened today. They looked in all the usual places and found more than they expected.
For the record, the 31 were men and women, no children. At least one veteran. Ages 20 to mid-50s. Three of them will be in the Bristol Emergency Shelter this evening. Others wanted no part of the place.