On Wednesday night, a group of outreach workers will fan out over Dane County, looking for people who don't have an official address.
Working on behalf of the city's Community Development Block Grant office, the workers will do a head count of all the homeless people they can find. The survey is done every six months -- once in January and once in July, says Sue Wallinger, CDBG grants administrator for Madison.
The workers count the number of people in shelters as well as those who are "unsheltered." "That could be a person sleeping in a car or a doorway or camping."
The trend since 2009 has been a general increase in homeless people. In January 2009, workers counted 642 homeless people, including 100 who were considered "chronic homeless." That means they've been homeless for a year or longer or have been without a home four times or more in the past three years.
In January 2012, there were 736 homeless people counted, including 189 who were chronically homeless. It will take about a week to compile Wednesday's tally.