CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia is about to embark on a census to see just how many people are homeless in the Mountain State. This is one of the most visible and talked about problems, especially in the state’s urban areas.

Lawmakers are asking the state’s Bureau of Behavioral Health to essentially conduct a census on the number of unsheltered people living in the state.

There are concerns that many are coming in from other states to get drug treatment here, and then they stay in West Virginia upon their completion of their substance abuse care. Without any means of support or job opportunities, they stay on the streets.

The overall goal is to get these people help.

“Yes, so this bill in particular, the homeless bill, is going to tell us where they are, where the homeless folks are in terms of the state. What’s bringing them in? And how are they moving around within the state?” State Sen. Mike Azinger, (R) Wood.

The state will be asking health care and substance abuse providers to help gather the information. They are also asking city and county leaders help with the count. It is hoped that the census can be complete by July 1, 2024.