The nationwide effort to identify individuals and families experiencing homelessness relies on community volunteers to provide a snapshot on homelessness in the Unites States.
Medford, January 14, 2019: During the last 10 days in January, each community in Oregon conducts a street count to identify homeless community members including those sleeping in community shelters, camping, living in recreational vehicles or anyone lacking a safe and stable place to call home. Jackson County’s Point-In-Time count takes place on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019.
The count is conducted by volunteers under the direction of the seven Continuum of Care (CoC) organizations in Oregon. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) collects data at the national level, with Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) analyzing the state level data.
“The Point-in-Time Count is critical to understanding what homelessness looks like in Jackson County,” says ACCESS Executive Officer Pamela Norr. “While it doesn’t tell the whole story, it provides big picture information about those who do not have a permanent place to call home. I urge all those who are able to volunteer their time and support this work.”
The Point in Time Count (PIT) determines the number of families and individuals experiencing homelessness on a particular day. The PIT is not intended to capture the total number of individuals who will experience homeless throughout the year, but rather as a tool to provide communities with a consistent measure of the prevalence of homelessness in their communities over time.
PIT is used by HUD to evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies that a given community uses to prevent and end homelessness. While it serves as a useful planning tool, it is not necessarily representative of all experiences of homelessness, especially for communities with significant weather variations or migratory populations.
This undertaking requires intense local collaboration among numerous agencies, shelters and nonprofits. For rural CoCs, the effort is even greater as they have more groups to coordinate and a larger geographic area to cover. Most areas are still in need of volunteers. Contact information is below for media and potential volunteers:
- Medford/Ashland/Jackson County Continuum of Care Coordinator
- Constance Wilkerson
- (541) 494-1209
OHCS anticipates that their data and analytical review will be available in August. Information on the past Point-in-Time counts can be accessed here: https://www.oregon.gov/ohcs/Pages/research-point-in-time-homeless-count-in-oregon.aspx. More information about CoCs: https://www.oregon.gov/ohcs/Pages/program-continuum-of-care-oregon.aspx.