Volunteers Needed to Help with Counting Homeless in Community

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Provided by Prince William County

The Prince William County Department of Social Services (DSS), and the Prince William Area Continuum of Care (CoC), will count the homeless on Wednesday, Jan. 22. Volunteers are needed to help. The CoC includes the local governments of Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park Also included are local government agencies, non -profits and faith-based organizations and a variety of other key stakeholders that come together to serve the needs of the homeless in the area.

Why We Do This

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires that jurisdictions across the country conduct the Point-in-Time survey to count their homeless populations on one single night within the last 10 days of each January.

The Point-in-Time count provides the department with a quick look at the nature and extent of homelessness in the area, said DSS Homeless Services Division Chief Tony Turnage. “It’s basically to get a snapshot of the homeless needs in the community. It is not all encompassing, but it gives some sense of what’s going on and the resources needed. It asks a series of questions to give us an idea of who we’re serving.”

Volunteer Information

Volunteers will work with DSS and the CoC to collect data, coordinate operations and accurately complete surveys on behalf of people experiencing homelessness. Volunteers will also agree to maintain the confidentiality of the survey.

Potential volunteers must be at least 18 years old and able to work from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight on Wednesday, Jan. 22. In case of inclement weather, the count will be conducted on Thursday, Jan. 23. People who want to volunteer will also need to attend one of two training class on Saturday, Jan. 18, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. One of the classes will be held at the Bill Mehr Drop-in Center, 14716 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge. The other class will be at the Northern Virginia SERVE at 10056 Dean Drive, Manassas.

Turnage said the count looks at how many people are in the county’s emergency shelters and transitional housing programs, along with how many people are living outside of shelters in the county. This helps in identifying the needs of the area’s homeless. “By doing the count, we can, hopefully, in the near future, start creating projects that meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness in the Prince William area to lower our homeless numbers.”

Volunteer efforts will focus primarily on the unsheltered homeless, Turnage said. “We really want to get a good sense of how many persons who are homeless who are living on the streets. If the goal is to end homelessness for every homeless person in the Prince William area, we can’t know what our target is if we don’t know the numbers.”

People who want to volunteer to help with the Point-in-Time Count can register at the Volunteer Registration Link . Registration is required. For more information, contact the DSS Homeless Service Team at [email protected].

For those who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness, please call 703-792-3366 for information and referrals.

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