Island County Human Services is seeking volunteers for the annual count and survey of homeless individuals in the county. The state- and federally-mandated Point in Time Count will take place Thursday, Jan. 24.
Volunteers are needed to go in teams to ask unsheltered individuals questions about where people slept the night before, how long they have struggled with homelessness and other questions about their circumstances. The information is used to identify trends and improve understanding of the issue at a local level to help agencies address it, according to Joanne Pelant, county housing resource coordinator.
“Volunteers are the key to successful counts and each year we are so grateful for those who participate,” Pelant said in an email.
Some will be part of an outreach team to go out to known locations of unsheltered inviduals, others will ride the bus and engage with people at event sites, Pelant said. Across both islands, the county department hopes to have about 150 volunteers.
The data from the count is used to determine how much funding goes toward solving the issue, which is why it is important to have the most accurate count possible. The information gathered can also be useful on an individual level.
“Most importantly, we connect those in need and continue to work to connect them to housing and services,” Pelant said.
Training will be provided to volunteers the week before the count.
To sign-up to volunteer, contact Emily Wildeman by phone at 360-678-7804 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.