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Alabama counts homeless statewide in down economy

MOBILE — A 47-year-old woman who became homeless in Minnesota is included among Alabama’s homeless population because she was in a Mobile shelter when survey teams began a 24-hour count of the homeless.

Patricia Cook says she has been homeless since September after being evicted in St. Cloud, Minn. She says she became stranded in Mobile in December when her car broke down.

Alabama’s statewide count was being completed Thursday, with the largest homeless population in Birmingham. The 2007 survey — the most recent figure available — showed nearly 5,400 homeless in the state.

Federal officials require the “point-in-time” count of the homeless to support requests for taxpayer money to pay for services for the homeless.