Wednesday, January 25, 2017, marks the annual Point-in-Time Count. The Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, coordinated by the Northwest Continuum of Care, is the annual documentation of the extent of homelessness in our region, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey Counties.
The information from the PIT Count provides a valuable snapshot of the state and extent of homelessness in our region and informs support service providers on the priorities to prevent and end homelessness. The Point in Time Count is a requirement of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, which currently supports the Northwest Continuum of Care member agencies with $287,000.
The 2016 PIT Count documented 520 people experiencing homelessness, with approximately 80% of those individuals unsheltered. We ask service providers (food pantries, shelters, community kitchens, schools, utilities, and hospitals), churches, local government, and law enforcement agencies with knowledge of individuals and families experiencing homelessness to contact Hospitality House (828-264-1237 x 108 – Bob Taylor) or VAYA Health (formerly Smoky Mountain LME/MCO) (828-265-5315 x 4409 – Lori Watts, Housing Specialist).
“Every agency that is part of our Continuum of Care diligently documents each person that we serve,” states Hospitality House executive director Tina Krause. “However, we know that there are other people on the margins that may not be receiving services from us and it is essential for our seven counties that we document as many of our homeless citizens as possible.”
If you are experiencing homelessness, please come forward to be counted. Let a food pantry, school, community kitchen or church know where you are. The count respects confidentiality of those experiencing homelessness and does not obligate anyone for unwanted services. Knowing the extent of homelessness, particularly homeless families and veterans, assists the development of support services to meet the basic needs of housing to those in need.