What is the 2013 Homeless Count?
The 2013 Homeless Count is a comprehensive census of the homeless designed to identify how many people are homeless in Tarrant County and Parker County at a given point‐in‐time. Those persons to be counted and surveyed will fall within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of literally homeless as detailed in the HEARTH Act and the 2013 count guidelines to include: An Individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, meaning: (i) Has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not meant for human habitation; (ii) Is living in a publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements (including congregate shelters, transitional housing, and hotels and motels paid for by charitable organizations or by federal, state and local government programs). In 2011, 2,169 persons were identified as homeless. 136 were unsheltered.
Why count the homeless?
The Tarrant County Homeless Coalition coordinates a census and survey of the homeless not only to fulfill the HUD requirement for federal funding for a variety of homeless housing and supportive services through the Continuum of Care, but also in order to understand the changing trends, extent, and nature of homelessness. The data will also assist in measuring the degree of success in ending homelessness.
The point-in-time count will be the official enumeration not only for federal HUD programs, but also Veteran’s Administration Homeless Assistance Programs and Health and Human Services Homeless Assistance Programs. This data collection event is directly related to future federal funding allocations for the community.
When will the Homeless Count take Place?
Thursday, January 24. Volunteers gather at deployment locations at 8:30 pm and deploy to begin count NO EARLIER than 9:30 pm until complete. The count should conclude around 1:00 a.m. Per HUD guidelines, to assure the most accurate count with no duplicate counting, the count and survey will be conducted late at night after the emergency shelters have closed intake and unsheltered homeless persons will have likely retired to their camp sites or other outdoor locations.
This is the fifth census of the homeless. Past counts occurred in January of 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. Beginning with 2013, this will become an ANNUAL event! So Mark your calendar for January 23, 2014!
Who should participate in the Homeless Count?
In order to conduct a complete and accurate count of the unsheltered homeless throughout the area, over 500 volunteers are needed. Volunteers should be 18 years and older. Teams of 3-5 persons are requested. This event makes an excellent short term service project for congregations, Sunday School Classes, service organizations and neighborhood associations.
Where will the Homeless Count be conducted?
The 2013 Homeless Count will take place throughout the geographical jurisdiction of the Fort Worth/Arlington/Tarrant County Continuum of Care which is all of Tarrant and Parker County. The primary concentration of volunteers will be in the City of Fort Worth which has the greater homeless populations. Homeless Count staging areas will be located in Fort Worth at the University Christian Church Fellowship Hall, next to the TCU campus, 2720 S. University Drive; in Arlington at the Arlington Human Services Building, 501 W. Sanford. and in Weatherford at the Starbucks at 1952 S. Main. *Weatherford count may start earlier as there are no concerns of double counting.
Volunteers will sign in and receive their count assignment and deploy throughout the areas.
The cities of Fort Worth and Arlington have been divided into counting routes with smaller routes in high impact zones where homeless encampments are common such as under bridges, in parks, and in wooded right of ways. Homeless counts will take place all over the state of Texas on the same night as January 24, 2013 to assure an unduplicated count.
Emergency Shelters and Transitional Housing Programs will also be counting and surveying their residents the night of the count utilizing shelter staff and their own agency volunteers.
Who will be counted in the Homeless Count?
Persons that will be counted will be those individuals and members of families that are considered homeless on the day of the count based on the definition of homelessness provided by the U.S. Department and Urban Development (HUD). HUD provides communities with guidance on the definition of homeless:
A person is considered homeless only when he/she resides in places not meant for human habitation such as cars, parks, sidewalks, and abandoned buildings. Other persons that will be counted as homeless include persons residing in an emergency shelter, domestic violence shelter, shelters for runaway or homeless youth, and persons enrolled in a transitional housing program who originally came from the streets or emergency shelters. Homeless persons who participating in the “Room In the Inn” program during the hours of the count will also be counted.
How will the Homeless Count be done?
On the evening of the count, hundreds of trained volunteers will go to one of two staging areas to check in and receive their Homeless Count packets of maps, instructions, count survey forms and deploy to their assigned areas to conduct the census of the unsheltered homeless. They will canvass the entire mapped area and interview homeless persons that they encounter. They will engage homeless persons and let them know the purpose of the count and ask the questions on the count survey form and return that night to the staging area with their results.
The count of the sheltered homeless, those residing in emergency shelters and in transitional housing programs will be taken from the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) a database of homeless clients and services used by all homeless service providers. A majority of adults in the shelters will also be surveyed by agency staff and volunteers.
When is training available for the Homeless Count?
Training will be conducted the NIGHT OF the count from 6:00-7:00 pm AT THE STAGING AREAS. Training will also be conducted online Webinar via the internet through GoToTraining. Registered volunteers will be notified by email with a link to the training.
When will the results of the Homeless Count be reported?
Preliminary results of the 2013 Homeless Count will be presented at the “State of the Homeless Address on Wednesday, February 20, 10:00 a.m., Presbyterian Night Shelter Main Shelter.