The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that continuum of care (CoC) communities like ours that receive HUD CoC funding perform a “one-day, point-in-time” count. This is a survey or count of the sheltered (every year) and unsheltered (every other year) homeless individuals. It occurs during the last week of January, on a single designated night. The January 2013 Point in Time Count will be on Jan. 30, and it’s theme is “Let’s Make Everyone Count.”
Each count is planned, coordinated, and carried out locally. This happens in over 400 Continuums of Care (CoC) communities, covering over 3,000 cities and counties across the country. HMHI and its sister organization HMSI are fully involved in the Quad Cities.
Results of the 2013 Homeless Count and Subpopulation Survey will provide benchmark numbers. We’ll use them as the basis for developing local community strategies. The overarching goal is to help people exit life on the streets, so these numbers help plan future services. But the numbers we count will also help us determine the success of our efforts to provide effective programs serving homeless individuals and families.
These counts help verify the need for state and federal funding that agencies depend on to provide shelter, housing, and support services to our community’s homeless. HUD is the largest source of homeless program funding, so ensuring that the funding is accomplishing what it was intended to do is vital to keep services operating.
Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Cyndi Lauper joined the effort to “Make Everyone Count,” a national campaign to support the local one-night counts of homeless persons and families. This national public service announcement encourages viewers to volunteer to gather this data on homelessness in the United States:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines homeless as persons who are sleeping in places not meant for human habitation, sleeping in emergency shelters, or living in transitional housing after having come from the a shelter or place not meant for human habitation.
By knowing the numbers, we can move forward in our work of assisting people who don’t have homes. Sadly, this includes families with children. So the work is very important to protect the most vulnerable in our community.