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County seeks point in time count volunteers
homeless dude
A count will take place next month to determine how many are homeless locally. Homeless people, like the man seen here at the Hatch Road Carl’s Jr. restaurant, have grown in recent years.

Stanislaus County is calling on community members to help conduct the annual count of the local homeless population in January. 

Each year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires communities to count the number of people experiencing homelessness in each county across the United States. Data collected is critical to effective planning and performance management toward the goal of ending homelessness, and helps to mobilize various efforts to address the needs of our homeless population. 

The January 2019 point in time count, organized by the Stanislaus Community System of Care, counted a total of 1,923 homeless individuals living in Stanislaus County — the highest the number has been since the count began in 2005. In 2018, the count came in at 1,356, though that number is not considered completely accurate because there were issues that arose last year over how the count was organized. A better indicator was the tally in 2017, which was at 1,661. 

Of the 1,923 individuals counted in January, 24 were in Ceres’ zip code area, 10 in Keyes, two in Hughson,  1,400 in Modesto, while 245 were in zip codes for Turlock, which had the second-highest rate of homeless individuals in the county. Eighty percent of the respondents said they first became homeless while living in Stanislaus County. 

To complete the annual point in time count, volunteers span out across the county over a two-day period and visit homeless shelters, transitional housing programs, day centers and other locations where homeless individuals have been seen. The volunteers ask the homeless individuals to fill out a survey that gives the county a better picture of who is homeless and what services might be needed.

This year’s annual point in time count is set for Jan. 23, 2020, and will take an unduplicated tally of both sheltered and unsheltered people living in Stanislaus County. 

In order to volunteer, individuals must register at and be at least 18 years old. When registering as a volunteer, every individual must select a city they wish to volunteer for and select a training seminar to attend prior to the date of the point-in-time count. Several times and locations are available. 

The 2020 Point in Time Count is organized by Stanislaus County in collaboration with many community partners. For more information, email or call 525-6322.