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Friday, April 12, 2024

Yolo County Point in Time Count conducted on Feb. 23

Point in Time Count indicates how many individuals are experiencing homelessness

By SHRADDHA JHINGAN city@theaggie.org

 

In a press release published on March 4, Yolo County announced that the “2022 sheltered and unsheltered Point in Time Count (PIT) was conducted on Feb. 23.” According to the press release, this was the first time that the PIT was held since 2019 due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in winter of 2021. 

“Several County, community-based providers, and volunteers spread throughout the County to complete the count,” the press release reads. “Their effort proved an overall success, with the first time using an online survey tool to facilitate a smooth process.”

As part of the PIT count, each member of the team either conducted a survey in-person or counted visually if an individual declined to participate. Participants remain anonymous in the survey.

The survey was utilized to obtain demographics on individuals experiencing homelessness in Yolo County. This includes ethnicity, age, race, the duration of time the individual has been in Yolo County and how long they have experienced homelessness in order to determine and better understand what programs would help individuals experiencing homelessness. The press release also describes what the PIT is.

“First conducted in 2005, the PIT count is an unduplicated count of persons experiencing homelessness on a single night within the last 10 days of January (delayed by Omicron in 2022),” the press release reads. “Communities are required to collect basic demographic and household information. In addition, communities must identify if a person is chronically homeless, indicating long-time or repeated homelessness and the presence of a disability.”

Gary Sandy, the Yolo County supervisor and chair of the Yolo County commission to address homelessness, described that there were a large number of individuals volunteering towards the effort. The results of the survey will allow Yolo County to allocate resources more efficiently, among other things, Sandy described.

“This year’s Point In Time Count relied on a large number of community volunteers,” Sandy said in the press release. “They diligently crisscrossed the County to secure a reliable estimate of the numbers of homeless and unhoused. An accurate county count will enable us to better coordinate our resources, maximize State and Federal funding, and strategically address the needs of those who lack housing.”

The PIT is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to be submitted by the end of April. Once finalized, it will be available on Yolo County’s website.

The 2019 PIT for Yolo County can also be found on the website. The PIT found that on Jan. 19, 2019, there were 65 individuals experiencing homelessness. However, the report also notes that the actual figure representing people who experienced homelessness in 2019 would be higher because families and individuals “move in and out of homelessness.”

In 2020, Secretary of HUD Marcia Fudge described in a video the results from the 2020 PIT for the U.S. Fudge stated that the data was from before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has most likely increased the number of individuals experiencing homelessness. 

“The results are startling,” Fudge said. “On any single night in 2020, roughly 580,000 experienced homelessness in the United States. Between 2019 and 2020, homelessness increased significantly among people sleeping outside or in places not meant for living, and among those who have experienced homelessness for a long time while also struggling with a disability. For the first time in many years, veteran homelessness and homelessness among families did not improve.”

In Yolo County, there are various programs and organizations to help those experiencing homelessness. One of these programs is formerly known as the Neighborhood Court program, now called Yolo Restorative Justice Partnership, which was created by the Yolo County District Attorney.

Marshall Aaron, a paralegal at the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, explained what the programs entail as of 2017. Those who are experiencing homelessness and “who have low-level misdemeanor crimes” are connected with a social services practitioner and a case plan is created. The individuals are then connected with resources to complete the case plan, and after six months the charges can be dismissed. 

“We then go out into the homeless encampments and we find individuals that are referred to us or look for individuals that have already been signed up to participate in the program and we go there — bring snacks, bring water, bring Gatorade,” Aaron said in a video. “We even bring phones we buy so that we can have continued contact with them when we find housing for them. We then transfer their camp to a more permanent housing location.”

For students who may be experiencing homelessness, there are various programs and options which can be found on Aggie Compass’ website.

Written by: Shraddha Jhingan — city@theaggie.org

 

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