On Jan. 24, 2017, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH) seeks volunteers to join us in this year’s national census of homelessness, the Point-in-Time (PIT) count. The PIT Count is an important annual exercise to count the total number of homeless on a given night across Connecticut and the country.

Volunteers are an important part of the fight to end homelessness. The data from the count is crucial to assess the success of current programs, gauge the progress we are making nationally in the fight to end homelessness, and determine future allocations of funding.  In 2016, Connecticut’s Point-in-Time Count showed substantial progress in our efforts to end homelessness, with overall homelessness in Connecticut down 13 percent compared to 2007 and chronic homelessness, which is the long-term homelessness of those with severe disabilities, down by 20 percent from 2015.

For those experiencing homelessness, the Count offers a chance for them to connect with volunteer surveyors. Volunteers can direct those in urgent need toward the services and supports that that can end their homelessness, including by adding them to the community registries for housing resources.

This year volunteers will be using mobile technology for gathering PIT Data through an app developed by Simtech Solutions. Volunteers can download for free from Google Play or the App Store and the survey information is submitted throughout the night of the count to regional command centers. The app improves the accuracy and timeliness of data, and relieves volunteers from hours of data entry.

Volunteering to participate in the PIT allows you to be part of Connecticut’s historic progress built from the community support, great partnerships, and reliable up-to-date data that powers our efforts to end homelessness. Connecticut was the second state to end veteran homelessness as of 2016. Connecticut is one of only four states participating in the national Zero: 2016 campaign to end all chronic homelessness by the end of 2016.

This year the Point-in-Time Count will be accompanied by the 2017 CT Youth Count, a week-long event to count all of the sheltered and unsheltered homeless youth and young adults age 24 and below on the night of the PIT Count. This count takes place throughout the week because of the more hidden nature of youth homelessness.  Volunteers for the youth count can participate during the dates and times convenient to their schedule and trained to administer youth homelessness surveys in their communities.

The success of the January 24 Point-in-Time Count and 2017 CT Youth Count depends on the participation of volunteers.  Please volunteer your time to show your commitment and build momentum toward ending homelessness. Together, we can bring an end to homelessness in Connecticut.

Learn more here. To volunteer, click this site to register, or contact Jackie Janosko at jjanosko@cceh.org.

Lisa Tepper Bates is Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness.

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