Every year, HUD requires continuum of care organizations (CoCs) to conduct a “Point in Time” or PIT count of homeless individuals, countywide. The goal of the data collected is to end homelessness by providing funding for efforts by nonprofit providers and state and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families – while reducing the trauma that dislocation causes. Additionally, the program opens access and effective utilization of support helps, as well as positions homeless individuals and families to become self-sufficient.
CoCs are responsible for counting people who are homeless (unsheltered) by mobilizing staff and volunteers who canvas the streets and other settings to conduct an accurate count. Missouri has elected to perform this county annually to glean a better picture of unmet needs among the homeless.
The PIT count in Lafayette County, which starts on January 27, is led by the Health Care Collaborative (HCC) of Rural Missouri with support from the Missouri Valley Community Action Agency, Lafayette County Health Department, school social workers, as well as other social service agencies.
HUD has designed the count at the end of January as it is usually one of the coldest months of winter. It contends that a count on one of the coldest nights of the year can be very effective in raising public awareness about the challenges of homelessness. Additionally, conducting the count at the end of the month helps to count people who cycle in and out of homelessness and who may be able to pay for temporary housing (i.e. a motel) at the beginning of the month when public assistance is received, but doesn’t spread far enough to see them through the entire month.
Volunteers are needed for the PIT count. Instructions and training to help fulfill the obligations of the PIT count are provided. HCC is hoping to recruit approximately 10-15 volunteers.
For more information or to volunteer, contact HCC’s Network Development Coordinator Suzanne Smith at 660.259.2440.