Each year, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires a count of homeless individuals across the nation. The resulting data allows the government to assess local service providers’ funding needs. On January 23th, 2014, the Upstate Homeless Coalition will coordinate a street and shelter count of homeless individuals in 13 counties across the Upstate.
A safe, efficient, and accurate count is required to meet the needs of veterans, families, and other individuals who have no safe place to stay in Greenwood County. Last year, volunteers counted 238 people who are experiencing homelessness in Greenwood County. Because a large portion of Greenwood is rural, it is difficult to count everyone—and professionals estimate this number is too low to be accurate. This year, county coordinator Candace Timmerman and the team of local partner agencies and volunteers are hoping to get numbers that accurately reflect the situation here in Greenwood.
Although the PIT Count helps agencies serve the less fortunate, it also benefits local taxpayers. While it may not be obvious, the chronically homeless create significant costs to city governments. A recent cost study on homelessness found that placing four chronically homeless persons into permanent supportive housing can save more than $80,000 a year.
The Upstate Homeless Coalition hopes to provide effective and sustainable solutions to the problem of homelessness—by helping with the count, members of the Upstate community are invited to do their own small part.