Local volunteers hit the streets early Thursday morning, trying to get a clear snapshot of homelessness in Kern County.
In 2011, between 1,400 and 1,500 people were classified as homeless in Kern, either living on the streets or in their cars.
On an average night, The Mission at Kern County takes in 250 to 300 people.
Since Wednesday evening, volunteers have been going to every shelter and taking to the streets for this year's countywide homeless count.
"I haven't slept good since I had my home where I had a stable roof over my head," said Rory Lawrence, who's homeless.
Lawrence has been homeless for four years and lives in a camper trailer with his wife in east Bakersfield. Lawrence said he's a disabled veteran and being homeless is physically and emotionally draining.
"It rips me apart because I'm trying to get stable for my children, and people look down on you that you're homeless, even the people you loved," said Lawrence.
Since Wednesday, dozens of volunteers have come together to conduct a countywide census.
Thursday morning, volunteers went out in the rain, trying to get an accurate count and to document the struggles of each person.
"The census is really more of an opportunity to make contact with those folks and put them in touch with the services they might need," said Tim Calahan, Director of Community Development for The Mission at Kern County.
The census will help determine the amount of federal funds the county will receive to help the homeless. It's also required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"I think beyond the statistics and beyond the funding, the real important thing here for us to know is these people's stories, to get to know them better. Because when you get to know someone living on the streets, sometimes you can put them in touch with the service they need that they might not be receiving," said Calahan.
For the past month, Nicholas Ruiz has been living at The Mission at Kern County.
"It's pretty tough. You have to battle the cold, the rain, with whatever clothes you have on your back," said Ruiz.
He said after serving time in jail for a DUI in San Luis Obispo, he knew his life had to change.
"Came back to Bakersfield, thinking I was going to have a job waiting for me, which it didn't work out. That's why I'm here," said Ruiz.
The results for the countywide census will take about two weeks.
County agencies may possibly receive up to $4 million this year.