Kern County Homeless Collaborative encourages community to volunteer for Point-In-Time Count

Bianca Cacciola, Reporter

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The Kern County Homeless Collaborative is reaching out to community members who want to volunteer for their next point-in-time (PIT) count on Jan 24, 2020. The KCHC is asking for 500 volunteers to help identify the trends in homelessness throughout the county.

“Kern County is a very caring community. A lot of people want to do something to help the homeless, but are not sure where to start. The Point-In-Time count is a way you can make a real difference,” Ian Sharples, Director of Public Affairs for the Income Property Association of Kern, said. “The data gathered from this event will help determine what federal resources we receive to address homelessness. PIT also provides crucial information to service providers and policy makers that allows them to operate effective programs.”

The volunteers will be sent out to survey the homeless people that sleep in places not for human habitation, such as alleys, parks, under bridges, and more.

“Volunteers will be paired up into teams of 3 or 4, then given supplies and a map of the area they will survey. The count is required to be conducted between 4:00 and 10:00 am. Volunteers then go out and speak with the homeless population in a census-like manner. Trainings are available that cover safety and best practices,” Sharples said.

These PIT events provide information that the KCHC use to combat the growing number of homelessness that has swept across the county. Since 2018, there has been a 50 percent rise in the number of homeless people in Kern County. The county has proposed numerous ideas for the growing epidemic, such as additions to homeless shelters, new shelters and stricter law enforcement consequences.

“At a time when the city and county are considering measures to address homelessness, it is important that elected officials are able to make decisions based on accurate information rather than stereotypes. PIT provides that data,” Sharples said in a press release.