Volunteers Needed to Help Count Connecticut's Homeless
HARTFORD, Conn. – Volunteers are needed to help with the annual census of homelessness in Connecticut next month.
On Jan. 24, people will fan out in Connecticut and across the country to count how many people are homeless that night.
Using a specially designed phone app, volunteers interact with the people they meet, asking about their needs and helping connect them with services.
Lisa Tepper Bates, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, says the Point-in-Time count does more than just put a number on the problem.
"It's also important because we've got to be able to think about resources – where we need the most, how effective our past application of resources has been," she explains.
Information about volunteering is available through the coalition's website at CCEH.org.
A census done early this year showed real progress. According to Bates, overall homelessness in Connecticut has gone down 13 percent since 2007, and the long-term homelessness of people with severe disabilities had decreased by 20 percent in just one year.
"We are nearing our goal of identifying, and then connecting to housing, every person in Connecticut living in this condition of chronic homelessness," she states.
Connecticut is one of only four states participating in the national Zero: 2016 campaign to end chronic homelessness by the end of this year.
Bates adds that next year, for the first time, the annual census will be accompanied by a count of homeless individuals 24-years-of-age and younger.
"We will be working across the state, including with partners in the school system, to reach out to young people in a slightly different way more targeted to effective communication with these very young and vulnerable people," she states.
Bates says the 2017 Connecticut Youth Count will serve as a baseline year for the collection of future data for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.