County seeking volunteers to help ID homeless

Two shifts available for Point in Time Count on Jan. 29

Volunteers in the Point in Time Count will be looking for areas where homeless individuals have set up makeshift living arrangements.

Volunteers in the Point in Time Count will be looking for areas where homeless individuals have set up makeshift living arrangements.

The county is seeking volunteers for the annual Point in Time Counta one-night census of individuals and families experiencing homelessness in shelters or sleeping in places not meant for human habitation.

This year’s count – a national effort sponsored by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to quantify the homeless problem – will occur Jan. 29, with two time frames for volunteering: 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 a.m.

Groups of volunteers, who will play a role in helping to remedy a serious problem by identifying those in need, will canvas different areas of the county, collecting data on individuals and families they may come across who are experiencing homelessness. The designated areas include sections of West Chester, Coatesville, Oxford, Kennett Square, Phoenixville, and other areas of Chester County.

Last year in Chester County, one of the most affluent counties in the nation, 43 people were identified as unsheltered and 582 were residing in emergency shelters or temporary housing. In 2012, similar numbers led to the launch of Decades to Doorways, an ambitious 10-year plan for getting people into permanent housing as quickly as possible and intervening before homelessness occurs. Studies have shown that focusing on permanency with appropriate supportive services is more cost-effective than keeping people in shelters.

Anyone interested in volunteering should register online at www.decadetodoorways.org or contact Sarah Trently at 610-344-6632 or strently@chesco.org.

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Tags: chester county, Decades to Doorways, Point in Time Count

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