Volunteers, donations needed for Point In Time Homeless Count Jan. 23

In collaboration with human service providers and community volunteers, the Snohomish County Department of Human Services is conducting the annual Point In Time Homeless Count on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. Volunteers are needed for the count, and donations of food or cold weather survival gear are also welcome.

According to organizers, the annual count is an important tool in the community’s efforts to assess the number of homeless individuals and families in Snohomish County, as well as to determine ways of ending homelessness. The count covers people staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing, and on the street or other places not meant for habitation.

Last year, the Point in Time Count revealed that on the night of Jan. 24, 2017, a total of 1,066 persons did not have a permanent place to stay the night prior. These numbers include 462 persons in emergency shelters, 89 staying in transitional housing, and 515 who were unsheltered. More details about the count can be found at https://snohomishcountywa.gov/2857/Point-In-Time.

Human service providers, county staff, and community volunteers will join together in this effort to respectfully count the number of families and individuals who are homeless in our community. The results of the count will help ensure that vital federal and state funding continues to come into the community to fight homelessness. Data from the annual count is also used to help understand how widespread homelessness is in Snohomish County and who is most affected.

The Point-In-Time Count is only a count of who is homeless at one particular time. By itself, it is not a predictor of how many people will be homeless or receive housing resources throughout the rest of the year. But when used along with other data, the county can help paint a picture of the need and how well the community is doing in efforts to address the problem of homelessness. Priorities for state and national funding and planning for local programs and systems are based on Point-in-Time data.

YWCA will once again be the lead for South Snohomish County. Lynnwood’s Good Shepherd Baptist Church will again open its doors to the homeless community and will serve as a staging area for the volunteers. The church will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; anyone experiencing homelessness is welcome to stop by. Hot food will be provided all day and service providers will be on hand to provide support and resources for those in the community who are homeless.

Volunteers are also needed and are asked to commit to a three-hour period during the Jan. 23 count. Training and materials will be provided on site. To volunteer or to donate food or cold weather survival gear, contact Nora Karena at YWCA Pathways for Women at 425-774-9843 ext 236.

  1. I just was wondering of anticipated danger to those volunteering to help with the count. Also, if I were to volunteer, would I be bringing supplies to them? Could I provide books or magazines to them? (Bible Based)

  2. Hi Diana. I reached out to my colleague Nora and this was her response. Any follow-up can be made directly at Pathways for Women with the contact information in the story:

    “My general answer around safety is that volunteers that go out in pairs (or even larger groups), and we encourage people to very aware of their surroundings, and not to go anyplace that feels unsafe to them. My larger answer is that fear often exists in the absence of understanding, and that love is the truest antidote to fear. One of the benefits of the Point in Time Count is that it gives folks an opportunity to get to know our neighbors who are homeless, increasing opportunity for both love and understanding. Point in Time Count volunteers distribute cold weather survival gear, such as gloves, coats, blankets, food, warming kits, and even tents. As a formerly homeless person and voracious reader, I would never argue that books are not critical to survival, but we do prioritize the distribution of more tangible goods for this effort.”

  3. Diana, I did the count a couple of years ago, and plan to do it again this year, and safety of volunteers was definitely important to the organizers. Community volunteers go out in groups, as Alicia said, and in highly visible areas; only police officers and others from the police department went anywhere that could be even the slightest bit dangerous.

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