–Nearly 1,000 Volunteers in 40 Kansas Counties Expected to Survey Individuals Experiencing Homelessness–
TOPEKA, KS – January 26, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Public agencies, non-profits and faith-based organizations are joining efforts to conduct a statewide Point-In-Time Count of Kansas’ homeless population on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011. The purpose of the count is to provide a one-day, statistically reliable snapshot of homeless persons in sheltered and unsheltered locations, understand trends in homelessness and comply with reporting requirements from the federal government.
Governor Sam Brownback says identifying the number of people experiencing homelessness is an essential step in combating the issue. “Once we have a better understanding of how many individuals and families are impacted across the state and why, efforts can then be tailored to help,” said Brownback.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires Point-In-Time counts every two years for communities and local organizations wishing to apply for federal funding. These organizations, referred to as Continuum of Care (CoC) networks, deliver housing services designed to meet the needs of homeless persons as they move to stable housing and maximize self-sufficiency.
Diane Etzel-Wise, Executive Director of the Kansas Statewide Homeless Coalition (KSHC), says point-in-time counts put a face on the problem of homelessness. “The count assists Kansans in getting a clearer picture of homelessness in our state, which is tied to eligibility for federal resources in housing and services,” said Etzel-Wise.
In Kansas, five CoC networks from Douglas and the rural and frontier counties, as well as Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee and Wyandotte counties will spearhead the count with the help of partner staff members, city and county officials, law enforcement officers, social service providers, volunteers and persons who are homeless themselves. Approximately 1,000 volunteers in 40 counties are expected to participate.
Point-in-time counts are intended to survey persons that are homeless, living in emergency shelters, transitional housing and/or domestic violence shelters, and those living on the streets or other places not meant for human habitation. Information collected will be kept confidential and personal information will be destroyed after the data collected is compiled.
Questions in the Kansas survey include the following topics:
· places where persons might have stayed that night
· length of time spent homeless
· number of times they’ve been homeless
· family size including children
· veteran’s status · mental health
· substance abuse or domestic violence issues
· HIV/AIDS related illnesses
· job status
Organizations involved in the 2011 Kansas Point-In-Time Count include the Kansas Statewide Homeless Coalition, Kansas Housing Resources Corporation, Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, Kansas State Department of Education, Kansas Coalition against Sexual and Domestic Violence and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
For more information about the count, contact the following:
In Douglas County Danelle Dresslar, City of Lawrence (785) 832-3108 ddresslar (at) lawrenceks (dot) org
In Johnson County Valorie Carson, United Community Services of Johnson County (913) 438-4764 valoriec (at) ucsjoco (dot) org
In Sedgwick County Luella Sanders, United Way of the Plains (316) 267-1321 lsanders (at) unitedwayplains (dot) org
In Shawnee County Doug Wallace, Valeo Behavioral Health Care (785) 357-0580 doug (at) valeotopeka (dot) org
In Wyandotte County Atif Abdel-Khaliq, Wyandotte Homeless Services Coalition, Inc. (913) 573-5120 aabdel (at) wycokck (dot) org
To speak with the Balance of State Continuum of Care network, please contact county leads found here. For additional information, contact the Kansas Statewide Homeless Coalition at 785.354.4990 or info (at) kshomeless (dot) com.
Catherine Couch, KHRC
ccouch (at) kshousingcorp (dot) org