Ending homelessness, one of Tarrant County's goals, involves understanding who is homeless and why.That's the purpose of the homeless count that takes place every two years, coordinated by the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition.But it requires going to places where homeless individuals are known to stay and talking with them about their situation.Several hundred volunteers are needed for the endeavor, which is scheduled for Jan. 24. Training starts at 8 p.m., and the count takes place from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.Volunteers will meet at four locations in Tarrant and Parker counties:University Christian Church, 2720 S. University Drive in Fort Worth.Arlington Human Services Center, 401 W. Sanford St.Community Enrichment Center, 6250 N.E. Loop 820 in North Richland Hills.Starbucks in Weatherford, 1952 S. Main St.Teams of three to five people will be dispersed to locations where homeless people have set up camps or have been previously located. Police officers help provide security.Training materials and sample surveys can be found at www.ahomewithhope.org.Once the number of people living outside is documented, it will be combined with totals of those staying in shelters for an overall count.The survey is required by the federal Housing and Urban Development Department to qualify for funds to cover housing and supportive services. Tarrant County is applying for a $12 million continuum-of-care grant to fund efforts to create more shelter beds for chronically homeless but also move more people to permanent housing and help them find jobs.Tarrant County is reducing the homeless population: On any given day in 2012, 2,123 people were homeless, down from 2,169 in 2011 and 2,181 in 2009, according to the coalition. The census found 136 people living outdoors in 2011; 195 in 2009.But continued progress requires commitment, combined with ongoing, coordinated effort.