You Cant Count On Me

As homeless gather for census dinner, county officials are out to lunch

By 8 p.m., most of the families stayingat the Catholic Worker building were in sleeping bags or on thin mats spread inside the house or beneath tents in the center's back yard. The children, who had finally worn themselves out, were almost asleep. The adults, too, were only half-awake. At that moment, eight county survey takers knocked on the center's front door.

After apologizing for missing the big meal, they asked permission to hand out four-page questionnaires to every homeless adult in the house. While there were less than half the number of homeless people present than at the Civic Center two hours earlier, the building was still so crowded the survey takers could barely maneuver through the room. One shook his head in embarrassment at a reporter standing nearby.

"Oh, boy," he finally said. "Do you think this is really going to work?"

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