ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — As Arctic weather descends on Rockford, officials began canvassing the city as part of their annual census of the city’s homeless population.

Four separate teams, made up of community advocates and law enforcement, will be searching parks and other locations where homeless residents typically gather, including abandoned buildings, bus stops, and local shelters.

Organizers of the “Point in Time Count” say accuracy is crucial, as the results can have a direct impact on funding the city receives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The headcount also doubles as outreach.

“We really want to be mindful, of kind of looking everywhere we possibly can, to find people,” said Rockford’s Homeless Program coordinator, Angie Walker. “And, not only is it important for us to count them and do a survey, but for our actual everyday purposes. We want to make contact with those folks, get them on our list of people who need assistance, and be able to work with them in the future, to hopefully help them get into permanent housing.”

With dangerously cold temperatures expected over the next few days, Walker says it is important for the homeless to know their options to escape from the elements.