The deadline to register to volunteer for Riverside County’s annual homeless Point-in-Time Count on January 29th is today.
The Point-in-Time Count is a surveying of all the homeless people in Riverside County.
Volunteers use an app to survey homeless people, asking them questions like “how long have you been homeless” and “are you a veteran?”
The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires communities that receive funding for homeless programs to perform this Point-in-Time count in order to determine how much money is distributed to fight homelessness.
Tiffany Nelson is a community programs specialist with Riverside County. She led a training for volunteers interested in the Point-in-Time Count.
She says most of the volunteers are simply people interested in solving the problem of homelessness.
Nelson: “So a lot of our volunteers are members of the community actually. Last year was the first time we got 800 volunteers for the Point-in-Time Count, we typically only had 400 to 500 volunteers. So once we opened it up even more broadly to the community, we saw how many people wanted to go ahead and assist with this effort and help count our homeless population, especially since we've seen it grow over the past five years. So people are wanting to help solve the problem.”
Nelson says volunteers get a lot out of the experience.
Nelson: “Honestly, people seem to come back so fulfilled that they are always asking, when is the next one? The volunteers come back so fulfilled, and I honestly think that's why our volunteer count is growing. The number of volunteers. Because everyone brings someone to count with them the next year, saying hey, you've gotta do this, it's fulfilling. It's fulfilling to try to be part of the solution.”
You can sign up to volunteer for the 2020 Riverside County Point-in-Time Count at rivcoexchange.com.