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Snohomish County looking for volunteers to assist in homeless count

Volunteers are needed for the annual Point-In-Time Homeless Count that will be conducted on Thursday, January 23, 2020. The annual count is an important tool in efforts to assess the number of homeless individuals and families in Snohomish County.

From a Snohomish County press release.

In collaboration with human service providers and community volunteers, the Snohomish County Department of Human Services is conducting the annual Point-In-Time (PIT) Homeless Count on Thursday, January 23, 2020.

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 8:00 am and 8:00 pm on Thursday, January 23rd.

Human service providers, county staff, and community volunteers will join together in this effort to count the number of families and individuals who are homeless in our community. Human Services and our partners strive to always treat every member of our community with respect, and those who volunteer for the PIT count will be expected to do the same.

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 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 we as a community are 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.

“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.

He went on to say, “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. 23rd count. They are also asked to 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, please contact one of the area leads below:

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.  While noteworthy progress has been made, there still remains a daunting effort ahead to provide solutions for people experiencing and at imminent risk of homelessness. 

More information on the PIT history and methodology may be found on the Human Services Point in Time Count webpage:  http://www.snohomishcountywa.gov/2857/Point-In-Time.

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