Volunteers and donations sought for local homeless count

Press Staff Writer

        The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that communities receiving federal funding from their Continuum of Care and Emergency Solutions Grants programs conduct a Point-in-Time Count (PIT) sometime during the last ten days in January. This count assesses the number of homeless persons in the community. The last PIT count in Lucas County revealed 640 individuals living in shelters and 22 individuals living on the streets.           
         Toledo Lucas County Homelessness Board (TLCHB), as the lead applicant for the community’s Continuum of Care grant, is the lead organization for this count that will be conducted on Jan. 22 and 23. The Toledo Area Alliance to End Homelessness (TAAEH) and other agencies receiving federal funds—including many shelters— will also participate.
        Night count – On the evening of Jan. 22, from 10 p.m.-3 a.m., groups of volunteers will canvas the community to survey individuals who are homeless. They will cover all high-traffic areas working with local partners, case managers and law enforcement to ensure that all areas are covered.
        Day count – On Jan. 23 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., volunteers will be stationed at Ohio Means Jobs and other agencies, including shelters, to survey those who come to be counted and who are staying at the shelters. As donations permit, those who come to be counted will be offered personal supplies as well as meals.
        The survey is very simple and asks questions about age, gender, length of homelessness, etc. Participation in the survey is voluntary. For the first time this year, Toledo will be using a web-based app to count. This approach will help with better tracking and analysis post event. The information gathered is reported back to HUD later in the spring.
             Volunteers and donations needed – Volunteers are needed, especially for the night count. Donations of toiletries, warm clothing items, snacks, bottled water and breakfast/lunch donations are also needed.
        Housing inventory count – In addition to the PIT count, HUD also requires an annual completion of a Housing Inventory Count (HIC). This count provides an overview of a community’s homeless program inventory. According to HUD, “Collecting data on the numbers and characteristics of homeless individuals and families as well as homeless services capacity can serve additional purposes over and above just meeting HUD requirements.”
        Some of the benefits include:
        • Providing support for local planning efforts by identifying unmet needs and trends in size and characteristics of homeless populations
        • Supplying guidance for development of more effective programming and services
        • Raising awareness of homelessness
        • Enhancing local homeless programs’ volunteer base
        • Assisting with allocation of resources around local priorities
        • Targeting interventions for certain homeless sub-populations
        • Providing an opportunity to conduct community outreach, engagement, screening and triage to identify people experiencing homelessness who are in need of services
        • Identifying community goals
        Assisting in measuring progress toward homelessness reduction goals
        Those interested in donating or volunteering can call the Toledo Lucas County Homelessness Board office at 419-244-9440 ext.10.
        About Toledo Lucas County Homelessness Board
        The Toledo Lucas County Homelessness Board (TLCHB) coordinates service delivery across an array of partner agencies, serves as the HUD-mandated Continuum of Care organization and engages in long-term planning for homelessness prevention.


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