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Memphis homeless numbers declining

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Homelessness is down 13 percent from 2012, according to a recent head count in Memphis and Shelby County.

To further that trend, volunteers assisted Thursday with the 3rd Project Homeless Connect, the city's largest one-day effort to reach the homeless at the Cook Convention Center.

"So we've got an array of wraparound services here to address just about any issue the homeless are facing," said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell. "If we can address some of those core issues than we can take a big step in ending homelessness in those lives."

The homeless entered the main exhibit hall after taking a number and they were matched up with a volunteer.

"We've heard from the guests from the last couple of events and the thing they like most is that relationship between them and the volunteers who believe in them," said Katie Kitchin, event executive director. "Gives them a little hope for a better life."

"I've done this a couple of years and it's a very easy process," added Windy Smith, volunteer. "I'm good friends with Katie Kitchin. She has taught me a lot. Just being here, kind of recruited two of my neighbors to join in. If you have a heart you can do this. It's easy."

"This is my first year here so I'm excited and overwhelmed by all the volunteers," added  Laura Davis, volunteer. "It's such a great day for Memphis and to help those less fortunate."

One of the unique aspects of this year's homeless project was a professional photographer taking portraits of Memphis' homeless. The photos showed the homeless are really just like the rest of us, human beings. They just landed on hard times.

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