Homeless Count & Phone Survey to Take Place January 25

Posted on January 22, 2019

Annual Sonoma County Homeless CountThe Annual Sonoma County Homeless Count and Phone Survey are scheduled to take place on Friday, January 25, 2019. In the early hours of Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, more than 150 volunteers will join Community Development Commission staff and paid, homeless guides to conduct a “street count” of people living outside, in all census tracts of the Sonoma County.

Referred to as “Point-in-Time,” the annual Homeless Count is a federal requirement for Sonoma County to access much-needed resources, which in turn, help people lift themselves out of life on the streets. It provides valuable data that informs the actions of local government and its nonprofit partners working to end homelessness.

“The Count is also an opportunity to bridge relationships within our community,” said Michael Gause, Acting Homeless Services Manager at the Community Development Commission, which coordinates the Count. “It’s a chance to tear down conventional attitudes toward homelessness. Participants typically find the experience eye-opening.”

Volunteers will meet Friday at 5 a.m. at one of five deployment centers in the county and split into teams led by experienced, homeless guides. These teams will canvass streets on foot, or by car, and tally as many people who are homeless as can be found in each area. Separate counts will be conducted for homeless youth ages 18-24, and all persons staying in shelters, jail and institutions.

Data from the Count will be supplemented by a telephone survey of approximately 600 homeless persons conducted over the following two weeks. The survey – added to Count activities last year following the 2017 wildfires – aims to estimate the number of individuals and families who are unstably housed, couch-surfing, or living in doubled-up circumstances, including those affected by the wildfires. Approximately 2,000 households will be contacted from Jan. 11 – Feb. 3, 2019.  Guides will be compensated for their time, and coordinators will rely on their knowledge and experience to obtain more complete information. Final results of the Count will be published in the summer of 2019.

The annual homeless count ensures Sonoma County remains eligible to receive funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Sonoma County Community Development Commission coordinates the count. Results are expected to be released June 2019.

For more information, or to volunteer, visit http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/CDC/Annual-Homeless-Census-and-Survey/ or contact Michael Gause at (707) 565-1977 or michael.gause@sonoma-county.org.

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