The severe winter weather has forced organizers to push back the annual count of Connecticut’s homeless population to February 18.
Blizzard conditions and difficult travel the week of the original Point-in-Time Count date, January 28, forced rescheduling of the count — an essential part of state’s campaign to end Veteran homelessness by 2015 and chronic homelessness (long-term homelessness of people who are disabled) by 2016.
“The safety of the providers and volunteers who do the count is paramount,” said Lisa Tepper Bates, Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition To End Homelessness, the count’s organizer. “Now that ending Veteran and chronic homelessness is within reach, all of us working on this campaign look forward to having solid numbers and data to gauge progress.”
People with and without shelter will be counted by volunteers, who will visit about 150 facilities that provide either emergency shelter or transitional housing, as well as canvassing streets and parks.
Unlike previous years, volunteers will collect information for a second database containing the names of people experiencing homelessness and their specific housing, medical and employment assistance needs.
This by-name registry will be an essential tool to ending homelessness because it allows service providers to target the right kind of assistance to the right person.
“Working one person at a time, and securing the right housing for each person, we can end chronic homelessness,” Bates said. “This information sounds basic — but the innovation of creating these shared community-wide databases of each person’s needs has tremendous power to accelerate our efforts.”
Most volunteers will work from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Wednesday, February 18. In some regions, they will work 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. on February 19. If you are interested in volunteering in a region, please email Jackie Janosko at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Opportunities are available statewide, please indicate where you would like to volunteer and we can match you to the area closest to you. Volunteers will be paired with experienced local providers and seasoned volunteers. All volunteers must be at least 18 years old or 16-17 years old accompanied by an adult.
Connecticut is one of only six states selected to lead Zero: 2016, the national campaign to end both Veteran and chronic homelessness by the end of 2016, Bates added.
CCEH is also spearheading the first-in-the-nation count of Connecticut’s homeless youth this year, and launched be homeful, a campaign to end family homelessness.
Some results from the January 29, 2014 Point-In-Time Count, which was a sheltered count:
- 3,571 people were in emergency shelters and similar facilities – nearly level with the count of sheltered homeless in 2013.
- 221 total veterans were counted – a 17 percent decrease in the sheltered veteran population compared to 2013, and a 38 percent decrease since 2009.
- Emergency Shelters showed a 4 percent increase in persons sheltered compared to 2013.
- 458 families were counted in emergency shelters – an increase of 4.5 percent from 2013.
- 780 children under the age of 18 were homeless – representing 22 percent of all persons counted.
- 14 percent of the total sheltered adults reported domestic violence as a contributing factor to their homelessness.