Hundreds of volunteers spread out across the inland region last Tuesday and gathered information about the area’s homeless population.
The Point in Time (PIT) count, conducted under the stewardship of each county’s Department of Public Social Services, has been a requirement of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development since 2005 for every municipality that receives homeless funding from the federal government.
PIT creates an opportunity for each county to identify how many individuals and households are homeless, including those living on the street or other unsheltered locations. The effort also helps identify some of the key characteristics of this vulnerable population.
Key persons and volunteers participate in the count. They include representatives of local government, social service providers, law enforcement, municipal agencies, educational institutions, faith-based organizations, local businesses, civic groups, neighborhood associations and nonprofit agencies as well as current and formerly homeless individuals.
Data and other information gathered during the PIT count is essential to how municipalities measure success in addressing homeless issues, and it also helps them understand specific year over year challenges in this regard.
This year for the first time, volunteers who participated in the count used a special mobile app to help capture the required data. The results of last week’s counts are expected to be available in the spring.