Everyone Counts

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Point in Time

Volunteers prepare to go out for the biannual Point in Time Count. Photo credit: Homeless Connections

Contributor: Chris Lashock, Client Services Coordinator at Homeless Connections

Twice each year, groups of community volunteers, partnered with Fox Cities Housing Coalition members, walk through the streets of the Fox Cities. They check under bridges, through parking lots, inside abandoned buildings, and around storage units. The groups identify and connect with individuals experiencing homelessness during the overnight hours.

I will never forget talking to a young man at Jones Park about his homeless episode. He said, “It is so cool that you guys are doing this. Can I come and help?” While he didn’t join us that night, I saw him the next day and he said, “Before I saw your group I almost gave up on humanity, but knowing that someone cared enough to talk with me meant everything.”

This outreach effort is called the “Point in Time Count” and is an opportunity for our community to try to get an accurate snapshot of the needs of those without a place to call their own. Throughout my time organizing this count one thing has never gotten any easier: having to walk away from someone without being able to resolve their immediate housing crisis.
The Point in Time Count has shown us that, in the Fox Cities, we average over 300 people, at any given moment, experiencing some form of homelessness (in shelters or transitional housing and on the streets). Some years we have found no one sleeping outside. A few years ago, we found 19 individuals sleeping in places not meant for human habitation.
We are already planning for our July 2017 Point in Time Count. I encourage anyone interested in participating to contact me (Chris Lashock, Client Services Coordinator at Homeless Connections) to learn more.