Help the Homeless: Volunteers Needed
If you’d like to help people facing homelessness, a great opportunity to do so is coming up Wednesday, Jan. 22, “The Point-In-Time (PIT) Count.” To get an accurate assessment of the extent of homelessness, each January, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires an annual PIT Count of people experiencing homelessness. The PIT is conducted so the county can identify what’s needed to help the homeless and to apply for housing and service programs. The count, facilitated by Anoka County, the Heading Home Anoka Housing Collaborative, and the Suburban Metro Area Continuum of Care, will start at sunset and end at sunrise the following day. Locations throughout the county, including homeless shelters, city streets, and other known homeless encampments will be canvased in an attempt to interview people who are experiencing homelessness. Training and resources are provided for all who volunteer. Volunteers will work in pairs, and new volunteers will be placed with people who have experience doing the count.
Businesses: the groups organizing this count would appreciate your help, especially if you run a 24-hour business, such as a gas station, grocery store, restaurant or laundromat. People struggling with homelessness often frequent these locales in search of shelter. Partnering with businesses to count these people and direct them to resources is important. You can choose to allow a volunteer into your business while the count is happening, or volunteer to engage with the homeless by talking to them and filling out an online or paper survey. Area churches, especially during community meals, are also a place where the homeless sometimes go for respite. Volunteers from churches would be helpful as well.
Go to anokacounty.us/homelessness for more information, to sign up for a training, and to volunteer. Businesses, churches and other organizations that have groups of people who would like to volunteer can have a trainer come to them Jan. 6-10 by contacting Michele Reid at Michele.Reid@co.anoka.mn.us or 763-324-1843.