On Wednesday night, about 350 volunteers will fan out across every neighborhood in the city to conduct a count of Boston’s homeless population for the 33rd annual City of Boston Homeless Census.


The census helps put a number to the unmet need for housing, emergency shelter beds, treatment resources, and other services, according to a John Guilfoil, a spokesman for Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

This year Boston will be one of nine cities to pilot "Youth Count!," a new initiative of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness to develop promising strategies for counting unaccompanied homeless youth, up to 24-years-old, a population that has historically been difficult to quantify.


The youth count will take place over several days following the general street count so that youth staying in shelters or receiving services are counted.

The city’s 2011 Homeless Census found a total of 6,647 homeless individuals living in Boston, a decrease of 2.4 percent from the 2010 count.