Orange County is looking for around 1,000 volunteers to help conduct its biennial Point In Time headcount of homeless people on Jan. 23 and 24.
The theme of “Everyone Counts” conveys the importance of getting as thorough a count as possible to better plan and provide services, shelter and housing. The homeless census is mandated by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.
Most of the count is expected to be done on Jan. 23, a Wednesday, in the early hours from 5 to 9 a.m. and then in the evening from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.
The second-day count on Jan. 24 is intended to follow up on any areas that might have been missed.
Volunteer opportunities include field team captains, field surveyors, hosts at the five deployment centers, photographers and videographers.
Volunteers in the field must be 18 or older; deployment center volunteers can be 16 or older.
The teams will be guided by maps developed by City Net, a homeless services provider that previously has conducted city and regional homeless counts in Orange County.
All 34 local cities have been mapped for the count, along with unincorporated areas.
A tandem count of homeless people in shelters or other programs will be conducted by 2-1-1 Orange County, the regional social service information clearinghouse, on Jan. 23.
The field count will be different than past years: A phone app will capture information in real time on who’s out there and exactly where. More detailed demographic data also will be sought in electronic surveys that homeless people will be asked to participate in voluntarily, using one-day bus passes and food gift cards as incentives.
A training session specifically for homeless service providers will be held 9 a.m. on Jan. 3 at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Orange.
Sessions for other volunteers will run 90 minutes at locations in Fullerton and Tustin on Jan. 12 at 9 a.m.; Jan 16 at 6:30 p.m.; and Jan. 17 at 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. In south county, training will take place in Mission Viejo on the same dates and times, with the exception of 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. sessions on Jan. 17.
City Net is seeking donations for hygiene kits that will be distributed, and also is asking for people to write letters of compassion.
To learn more or to volunteer, go to everyonecounts.org.
Source: Orange County Register