Anoka County is seeking volunteers to help with the Point-In-Time (also known as PIT) Count of people experiencing homelessness Jan. 22.
To get an accurate assessment of the extent of homelessness, each January, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development requires an annual PIT Count of people experiencing homelessness. The count includes men, women and children living in shelters, on the street or in places not meant for human habitation, as well as individuals and families living with family or friends.
The PIT is conducted so the county can identify what’s needed to help the homeless and to apply for housing and service programs.
The count will start at sunset and end at sunrise the following day. Trainings and resources are provided for all who volunteer. Volunteers will work in pairs, and new volunteers will be placed with people who have experience doing the count.
Organizers also want help from businesses, especially run 24-hour businesses, such as gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or laundromats. People struggling with homelessness often frequent these locales in search of shelter. Count organizers say partnering with businesses to count these people and direct them to resources is important. Business managers and owners can choose to allow a volunteer in their business while the count is happening or can volunteer to engage with the homeless by talking to them and filling out an online or paper survey.
Go to anokacounty.us/homelessness for more information, to sign up for a training and to volunteer.