Reminder: Volunteers sought for Jan. 23 Point-in-Time homeless count

In collaboration with human service providers and community volunteers, the Snohomish County Department of Human Services is conducting its annual Point-In-Time (PIT) Homeless Count Thursday, Jan. 23 — and is seeking volunteers to help.

The county says that 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. Volunteers are needed for different parts of the county between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Jan. 23.

The results of the count will help ensure that vital federal and state funding continues to come into the community to fight homelessness, the county said. 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 some of those who are 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. However, when used along with other data, the PIT count 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, the county said.

“We can’t defeat homelessness unless we understand not only who is being affected but also how it is impacting our community,” said Dave Somers, Snohomish County Executive. “We need data to help us make informed decisions to combat the root causes of homelessness. I urge members of our community to join us in this vital task.”

During the 2019 count, 599 individuals in 495 households reported they were unsheltered. Another 517 persons in 344 households were without a permanent place to stay and were temporarily housed in emergency shelter or transitional housing. There were 58 veterans, 476 chronically homeless individuals, and the age of homeless persons ranged from 11 days old to 87 years old.

Volunteers are asked to commit to a three-hour period during the Jan. 23 count. The county in its announcement also requests that all volunteers come “with respect and humility for the work.” All training and materials will be provided at the sites specified below. To volunteer or for more information, contact one of the area leads below:

Central County  Dani Gentry       DaniG@ccsww.org                                          425-374-6359

North County    Nikki Rossiter     nikkirossiter@housinghope.org                425-347-6556 x278

East County       Michael Lorio     mikel@ttns.org                                                                 360-794-1022

South County    Vicki Dorway      vdorway@ywcaworks.org                            425-626-1480

Youth                  Claire Petersen Claire.petersen@cocoonhouse.org         425-259-5802 x129

Emphasis on the Point in Time Count began in 2006, with Snohomish County’s approval of the local homeless plan that included strategies for ending homelessness. More information on the PIT history and methodology may be found at www.snohomishcountywa.gov/2857/Point-In-Time.

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