Homelessness has been a contentious topic in Charlottesville, which was very evident during Monday night's city council meeting marked by heated debate about what to do about panhandlers and loiterers on the downtown mall. While council considers how it will deal with this issue, one organization has created an infographic to help clearly illustrate the statistics on homelessness in the area.

The Open Knowledge Collaborative Team creates graphics for nonprofits. "We're founded on the idea that people need good information to do good advocacy, to do good work in the community," said executive director James Quinn.

Members of the Open Knowledge Collaborative Team used data from the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless and turned it into an online infographic, "Homelessness in Our Community."

Quinn said it's a good way of presenting a lot of important data in a visually appealing way.

The graphic has a storyline so people don't have to crunch the numbers for themselves, and it illustrates some interesting points. For example: in this area more women are homeless than men, 7 percent of the area's homeless are children, most of the commonwealth's homeless are from central Virginia, and the primary cause of homelessness in this area is lack of work. 

The web version of the graphic also includes links to data as well as additional resources and reports about the causes and prevention of homelessness.

Quinn said the purpose of this infographic "is to tell the story that the homeless, they are made up of seniors, they are made up of vets, they are children who are homeless.  There's an unseen population and they're the people we really need to concentrate on."

Click here to take a look at the infographic.