For the past several years local agencies and organizations have conducted a count to determine the extent of homelessness in our community. This information is utilized in the submission of a Continuum of Care (CoC) grant through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD requires providers who participate in CoC Homeless Assistance Programs to complete a Point-In-Time (PIT) count of the people who are experiencing homelessness in their community. Aside from eligibility to compete for HUD homeless funding, an accurate count offers several benefits including:
Monitoring trends of homelessness in our local area
Supporting local efforts by identifying unmet needs and characteristics of the homeless
Assisting in development of new programs and services or re-distribution of programs and services
Raising community awareness of homelessness
Raising political awareness of homelessness
Measuring if homelessness is being ended in a CoC
To meet HUD requirements, CoC partners will count people who are sheltered as well as people who are unsheltered. Information about the characteristics of persons experiencing homelessness such as whether they have a mental illness, substance use disorder, HIV/AIDS, or whether they are victims of domestic violence or veterans. In addition to this, information on where individuals and families are known to stay when they are homeless on the street will also be included. HUD acknowledges that the street count will not totally reflect the exact amount of homeless in communities, but hopes to approximate the number of homeless through this outreach.
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