Homeless count planned Wednesday

Jan. 28, 2014 @ 01:51 PM

A count of homeless people will take place locally on Wednesday night as part of a National Point In Time Count of People Experiencing Homelessness.

The local effort is being coordinated by the Kerr-Tar Housing Committee, part of a regional housing collaborative.

Volunteers accompanied by law enforcement personnel will be screening locations in Vance County and neighboring counties to count the number of homeless people.

“This year we’re doing something a little different,” said Joel Rice, co-chairman of the committee. “In the past, we’ve gone to homeless shelters. This year for the first time we’re making an outreach effort to count people on the street. We’re working with law enforcement to go to known locations to get some numbers that way.”

Rice said law enforcement units in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Halifax counties have responded to the committee’s request for collaboration. That connection is important, he said, not only to identify likely locations of homeless individuals but also for security.

“We’re concerned about the safety of our volunteers,” Rice said. “That’s why we partner with local law enforcement.”

Rice is a housing specialist with the Five County Community Operations Center of Cardinal Innovations.

The Point in Time Count is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for communities that receive HUD funding. It will provide a picture of homelessness locally and nationwide and serve as a basis to plan and implement appropriate services and measure progress toward ending homelessness.

“It’s important,” Rice said, “because the numbers generate resources for us.”

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.