HOUSTON, TX — Local agencies looking to gauge the needs of the homeless began fanning out throughout the Greater Houston Tuesday to conduct an annual count of the homeless population.
Officials from the Coalition for the Homeless, and staff from The Way Home partner agencies, and community volunteers began with a sheltered county on Monday night, while the unsheltered and survey portion of the count began Tuesday and will continue through Jan. 25.
"We celebrated many victories last year: a 60 percent reduction in overall homelessness since 2012 and housing more than 500 chronically homeless individuals in six months, as challenged by Mayor Turner," said Marilyn Brown, President and CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless. "We also faced many challenges, including the Housing Choice Voucher freeze issued by HUD and the devastating destruction of Hurricane Harvey. The 2018 count will give us a better picture of how these challenges affected this vulnerable population."
The count is designed to identify the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless in Houston, Pasadena, Fort Bend County, Harris County and Montgomery County.
On Tuesdy thr Thursday, specialized outreach teams will conduct briefnsurveys with individuals on the street to confirm that they were unsheltered for the night on Jan. 22, and document housing needs for those surveyed.
Coordinated Access Housing Assessments will also be offered on the spot to homeless Veterans, youth and young adults, and chronically homeless individuals.
The annual Homeless Count is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the local Continuum of Care (CoC) funding process, which brought more than $33 million in Fiscal Year 2016 to multiple homeless assistance programs in Houston, Pasadena, Harris County, Fort Bend County and Montgomery County.
The Coalition for the Homeless applies for this funding each year, as lead agency to The Way Home, which is then used by homeless service partners to provide permanent housing, outreach, and supportive services to homeless individuals.
Results from the 2018 count will gauge the progress being made by these collaborative efforts, and will provide demographic information needed to help end chronic homelessness and continue to improve the region’s homeless response system.
During the 2018 Count and Survey, hundreds of The Way Home partner agency staff and community volunteers will depart from multiple staging areas across the greater Houston area to count and survey individuals, veterans, families and young people that live on the streets.
The Coalition for the Homeless is a non-profit, 501(c)3 whose mission is to provide leadership in the development, advocacy and coordination of community strategies to prevent and end homelessness.
Learn more at www.homelesshouston.org.
Image: (AP Photo/Juan A. Lozano)
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