PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A massive effort is underway to try and count the number of homeless people in the Tri-County area.

At this time last year, just over 5,000 people were counted as homeless in Multnomah County, including those in shelters and transitional housing. This year, Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties are coordinating their efforts to do the count at the same time.

Starting Tuesday night, teams of people who work with the unsheltered started going to camps and other spots with a survey of about 20 questions for people to better understand who is homeless and what the needs are for types of housing and services. The survey involves asking people about a single day and what they will do shelter on that particular night.

The federal government requires the count to be done around the country for communities to qualify for federal money. However, the count isn’t completely accurate due to the inability to track down every homeless person in a particular area.

Initial data should be out by April and will be used by county and state leaders as they make decisions on what to fund to help in the homelessness crisis.