Snohomish County is seeking volunteers for its Jan. 24 Point in Time homeless count.
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. Volunteers are needed for different parts of the county between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Human service providers, county staff and community volunteers will join together in this effort to respectfully count the number of families and individuals who are homeless in the community. 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 also is used to help understand how widespread homelessness is in Snohomish County and who is most affected.
“The only way to address the issue of homelessness is to know who is out there and what the causes behind their homelessness are,” said Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. “Volunteers are one way to ensure that we’ll get the most accurate count possible when we go out Jan. 24.”
During the 2012 count, 2,387 individuals in 1,410 households were identified as being homeless. About 800 of those individuals, or 33 percent of the count, were homeless children under the age of 18. Those numbers were slightly up from the previous count.
Volunteers are asked to commit to a three-hour period during the Jan. 24 count. 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:
· East County: Sharon Paskewitz, 425-212-3211 or firstname.lastname@example.org;
· South County: Maria Bighaus, 425-774-9843 ext. 236 or email@example.com;
· Central County: Jeanita Nelson, 425-374-6319 or JeanitaN@ccsww.org;
· North County: Karen Matson, 425-347-6556 or KarenMatson@housinghope.org.
Emphasis on the Point in Time count began in 2006, with the approval of the “Everyone At Home Now” report, a strategy for ending homelessness here in Snohomish County. The plan calls for the expansion of affordable housing and homeless-prevention services, as well as for the development of programs geared toward specific groups.
While noteworthy progress has been made, there are still tasks ahead to provide solutions for people experiencing homelessness or who are at imminent risk of being homeless.
“Our community, along with much of the nation has reeled from the economic recession,” Reardon said. “This has negatively impacted employment and housing options for many individuals and families struggling to leave homelessness behind or to avoid homelessness.”