The Fayette County Community Action Commission will hold its annual “Point-In-Time Count” to help identify homeless needs within the community on Jan. 21.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that communities receiving Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Grant funding complete an annual sheltered and biennial unsheltered Point-In-Time Count during the last 10 days of January. The data collected during this count assists the local CoC and across the state to plan future services geared toward ending homelessness, understanding changes in trends among homeless populations, complying with reporting requirements from HUD, other funders, and local stakeholders, and justifying the need for continued resources to aide the homeless.
A statewide count of homeless men, women and children living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, on the streets, and other places not meant for human habitation is being coordinated by the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio and the Region 16 Continuum of Care locally. The count will be conducted from sunset Jan. 21 to sunrise Jan. 22. Data will be collected within Fayette, Clinton, Highland, Ross and Pickaway counties. Last year, 149 individuals were counted over the five-county region.
“The information collected during the Point In Time count directly impacts our ability to identify gaps in services and compete for funding” said Dreama Brown, Continuum of Care coordinator.
HUD defines homeless as: “persons who are sleeping in places not meant for human habitation, sleeping in emergency shelters or living in transitional housing having come from a shelter or place not meant for human habitation prior to transitional housing entry.”
Locally, the Point-In-Time Count will include persons staying at the Brick House and enrolled in housing programs. Last year’s local count revealed there were 89 homeless persons living in shelters or in housing programs. The Point-In-Time Count also counts people who are considered unsheltered; meaning that they are living on the streets, in their cars, in abandoned buildings, etc. In 2019, there were 13 unsheltered homeless persons in the county located on the night of the count.
“Before I started working with the homeless, I was completely unaware of the homeless population in our small community. It was something that just didn’t cross my mind because it’s not something you see when you stop at a red light or go into the grocery store. Most individuals, like me, have this pre-conceived notion that a homeless person will be standing on the street corner holding a sign or pushing a Kroger shopping cart down the street, wearing layers of clothes. This isn’t something we see here in our rural community, but they are out there,” said volunteer and SSI Ohio Specialist Melinda Hellard.
The Ohio Point-In-Time Count includes homeless men, women and children living on the streets or places not meant for human habitation, emergency shelters, or transitional housing program with prior unsheltered status. The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio produces an annual Homeless Report, which can be found at www.cohhio.org.
For more information about this year’s count being held on Tuesday, Jan. 21, or if interested in volunteering, or donating, please contact Dreama Brown at 740-636-1374 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Acceptable donations include blankets, socks, hats/gloves, toothbrushes, travel size hygiene products, bottled water or monetary.