Point-in-Time Count Takes Place to Survey Homeless Population in Humboldt County

HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Ca. (KIEM) – The Point-in-Time count took place in Humboldt County and some people were up before the crack of dawn.

The count is an effort to survey how many people are experiencing homelessness and who are affected by it.

“We got up at 2, and at 3 o-clock drove around our sectors to see if we could find folks who were camping in their cars,” said Heidi Benzonelli.

Heidi was one of the many volunteers up before dawn to participate in the national “point-in-time” count. Teams of volunteers were assigned designated zones to see how many people go through homelessness.

“The Department of Housing and Urban Development lets you select any day in the last 10 days of January for the count,” says Robert Ward, an administrative analyst for the Department of Health and Human Services.

“They have to do an annual report to congress that includes an estimate of the total number people experiencing homelessness at a point in time.”

Volunteers used an app called “Counting Us” to collect data on individuals going through homeless. The information then gets sent back to the Department of Health and Human Services where it would be updated in real time.

Anyone who participated in the survey were given a big of supplies, filled with snacks and clothing. But some individuals did express their concerns.

“I think there was concern among some campers that are you doing this to kick us out?” Said Bill Rodstrom, another volunteer.

“No, it’s really to get more services for people,” he adds.

Volunteers not only counted the homeless. But they also shared a meal.

“We had the opportunity to actually sit down with people, break bread, and find out a little bit more about them as people, not just numbers in a survey,” said Heidi.

The Point-in-Time count happens every two years. By being able to have an accurate count, it helps to bring in resources to address the homeless problem and the ongoing housing crisis.