It's time once again for the biennial Point-in-Time count, which offers a snapshot of homelessness
HUD requires continuums of care to conduct the count every other year.
Outreach teams from Burrell Behavioral Health and Connecting Grounds will head out across Springfield Wednesday night and Thursday, January 25 and 26, to count people experiencing homelessness. Surveys will also be done in Webster and Christian Counties.
It’s part of the Point-in-Time Count, coordinated locally by the Community Partnership of the Ozarks.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires every continuum of care to conduct a count every other year of those experiencing homelessness.
Emily Fessler works for Community Partnership of the Ozarks as coordinator of the Continuum of Care that covers Greene, Webster and Christian Counties. She said Point-in-Time is not meant to be a comprehensive count.
"It is just kind of a snapshot of how many unsheltered individuals we have within a single continuum of care," said Fessler. "And it helps to kind of show trends nationally, so HUD will use it to kind of see demographics and just...fluctuations in patterns of movement."
Fessler said the Point-in-Time count will also allow those on the outreach teams to hand bags containing things like personal hygiene items, water, granola bars, hand warmers and bus passes as well as information about area resources.
Volunteers are an important part of the Point-In-Time count. They're sent to crisis cold weather shelters, the Veterans Coming Home Center, various Springfield-Greene County Library branches and O'Reilly Center for Hope to do surveys of unsheltered individuals.
Those who take the survey remain anonymous, but they're asked to provide their initials and birth dates so they aren't counted more than once, Fessler said.
Besides the Point-in-Time count, HUD also requires continuums of care to annually document the residential resources in their community dedicated to helping people experiencing homelessness.