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Homeless Leadership Coalition’s annual C.O. ‘Point-in-Time Count’ begins Monday

Homeless Leadership Coalition

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Homeless Leadership Coalition, Central Oregon’s Continuum of Care, will be kicking off the annual Point In-Time Count in Central Oregon next Monday, amid greater scrutiny and debate than ever about the rising number of homeless on the High Desert and how best to address the issues that have arisen.

This event is a count of individuals who are experiencing homelessness or in transitional housing in Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson counties, including the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. The count is a part of a state and national effort to identify the number of individuals experiencing homelessness and greatly impacts the available funding for homeless services to our region.

The Point In-Time Count is the only source of nationwide data on sheltered and unsheltered homelessness and is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of all jurisdictions receiving federal funding to provide housing and services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

Continuums of Care report the findings of their local Point In-Time Count annually to HUD. This information ultimately helps the federal government to better understand the nature and extent of homelessness nationwide. Count data also helps to inform communities’ local strategic planning, capacity building, and advocacy campaigns to prevent and end homelessness. 

The Point In-Time Count attempts to capture data on both sheltered and unsheltered individuals experiencing homelessness to provide a snapshot of homelessness in the United States. In addition to the total number of sheltered and unsheltered individuals experiencing homelessness, information is gathered on a wide range of characteristics of those experiencing homelessness including age, gender, race, ethnicity, veteran status, and disability status.

Locally starting on Monday, the HLC will be working with community partners to assist in conducting the confidential and anonymous surveys in La Pine, Bend, Sisters, Redmond, Prineville, Madras, and Warm Springs. The HLC has organized a service-based count, leveraging already existing partnerships and services to those experiencing homelessness to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

This count will provide the most up-to-date information about the number of individuals in Central Oregon who are struggling to find adequate housing and shelter. Through this data, local agencies and programs will be able to better target support services and develop comprehensive plans to address poverty and homelessness in Central Oregon.

Individuals and families counted through this effort include people living in:

·       Shelters

·       Transitional housing

·       “doubled up” or precariously housed with families/friends

·       Camping, sleeping outdoors or in cars or RV’s without full hookup

·       Other places not designed for human habitation

Counts will be taking place Jan. 24-31, asking individuals where they slept on the night of Monday, Jan. 24.

"Due to the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19, the HLC knows that the unsheltered count will not resemble unsheltered PIT counts of the past," the organization said in Wednesday's news release.

"The HLC believes that continuing to conduct an unsheltered count will be valuable for both local and national partners to understand how homelessness has generally changed and what additional efforts or resources may be needed due to impacts of COVID-19. The data collected will provide information about whether unsheltered homelessness has increased or decreased across our communities."

"While the Point In-Time Count is the only source of nationwide data on sheltered and unsheltered homelessness, we know there is a desire for improved data to better assess our local housing and homeless crisis. That’s why HLC recently joined a national movement of 90 cities and counties called Built for Zero. Communities in Built for Zero work towards measurably ending homelessness for all, by focusing on building systems that can continuously reduce homelessness for populations. Central Oregon CoC will begin this journey by focusing its Built for Zero efforts on the populations experiencing veteran and chronic homelessness."

For more information about this year’s Point in Time Count or to join the Built for Zero movement, contact the HLC at info@cohomeless.org 

About the Central Oregon Homeless Leadership Coalition:

The Homeless Leadership Coalition is a collaboration of community partners in Crook, Jefferson, and Deschutes counties, including the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs engaging the community through education, advocacy, planning prioritizing and accountability for services to persons experiencing homelessness. The HLC consists of organizations and individuals from the tri-county region.  They include shelter providers, public schools, public health, emergency services, veterans’ outreach, faith communities, public safety, mental health, housing services, public services, private employers, people with lived experience of homelessness and others. They represent a diverse group of interests, unified by a common focus.

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