Each year, UCAN hosts Point-In-Time Count (PIT) events throughout Douglas and Josephine County. This year, we will have outreach teams going to homeless camps throughout our Counties, visiting locations as far ranging as Williams, Reedsport and Glide. We will also be operating at the Josephine County Fairgrounds, at a center opened by the Illinois Valley Living Solutions in Cave Junction, and at Faith Foundry Church in Roseburg.
During the event, homeless folks can get their hygiene needs met, even getting haircuts. They can get critically important supplies, like sleeping bags. They can sign up for benefits and a variety of services. We make sure everyone feels welcomed and gets some nourishing food as well.
While we organize and staff these events, we rely on community partners to pull them off. Many local health and human service agencies staff booths at centers hosting the counts. Local residents donate their services and goods. In Josephine County, volunteers check people in as they enter the Josephine County Fairgrounds. The Chomp Food Truck provides meals that are paid for by Rogue Food Unites. In Douglas County, the Relished Gourmet Dogs and Dough Food Truck offers meals.
The events play a key role in benefitting all of our local communities. As the name implies, staff at PIT events use the opportunity to tally the number of homeless individuals living locally, as well as tracking numbers by race, ethnicity, age, and family type. We get an estimate of those living in shelters and those without.
We know that PIT events undercount the actual number of homeless folks. The counts are particularly difficult to undertake in our Counties, which are both very large, and have many homeless individuals living in remote areas. But government offices use the data to determine the amount of funding to make available for homeless services in communities. Recently, PIT count data was used to determine which counties would fall under an emergency order providing $130 million in funds meant to set up shelters and housing options statewide.
So it’s important that our count is as accurate as possible. If you know of anybody lacking a stable home, even if they sleep on a couch in someone else’s house, or live in a RV, please let them know about the PIT count on January 24th.