By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
Jan. 18, 2019
A record number of County employees will be hitting the streets next week to help count homeless people in the region.
About 700 County employees have already signed up for the annual Point-in-Time Count which takes place the last Friday of every January.
“It gave me great pride to hear that County workers have stepped up to fill almost 700 of 900 current volunteer signups,” said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, County Board of Supervisors. “We need about 200 more people to step up. Anyone can join.”
The County and the Regional Task Force on the Homeless are still looking for about 200 more volunteers, especially in North County and East County. The count takes place Friday, Jan. 25, 2019 from 4 to 8 a.m. The registration deadline is Jan. 23. You can register here.
The Point-in-Time Count is spearheaded by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless and provides a one-day snapshot of people living on the streets or in short-term shelters. The results are used to apply for federal and state funding to help homeless people and find solutions on how to best serve this vulnerable population.
Initially brought forward by Supervisor Greg Cox, this is the sixth year the County has recruited employees to help with the effort. The County Board of Supervisors feels the count is so important, it authorizes employees to participate in the count on paid County time. Last year, more than 500 employees helped count homeless people in San Diego County.
What are volunteers expected to do during the count? This year, volunteers will count and survey homeless people they see in a certain area.
This is what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development calls an “engaged” survey-based approach, where the homeless will be asked a list of questions when they are counted. To learn more about the 2019 changes, please watch this brief, three-minute video.
Last year, the region’s combined total came to 8,576 homeless people, the fourth highest number in the nation. They included veterans, families, victims of domestic violence, substance users, HIV/AIDS patients and the chronically homeless.
José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office.