Pierce County News Release
For those of us living in the northwest, the cold, damp winter seems endless by this time of the year. Imagine being one of the 670 homeless individuals who slept outside or in an emergency shelter in your neighborhood last night. To understand the challenges facing our homeless, local organizations will conduct the annual survey of homeless people this month in Pierce County. Completing this survey is a monumental task that requires the help of community volunteers and donations.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Coalition to End Homelessness seeks 100 volunteers to conduct the annual homeless survey on January 23 and 24. The annual survey is a vital component of reaching the goal to end homelessness in Pierce County. The data collected provides a picture of the homeless issues in Pierce County, drives planning efforts, and leverages public and private funding for homeless housing and services.
“From victims of domestic abuse, people with disabilities to veterans and senior citizens, volunteers can help us better understand the needs of our homeless neighbors,” said Charlene Hamblen, Chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County Coalition to End Homelessness. “Volunteers collect important data that will help us improve the quality of life and outlook for so many families and individuals.
Volunteers for the 2014 survey must attend one training session prior to participating. At the training, volunteers will learn more about how the data is collected and discuss safety measures.
Three sessions are scheduled.
· Monday, January 13, 4:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. Pierce County Community Connections, 1305 Tacoma Ave S, Suite 104, Conference Room C
· Wednesday, January 15, 4:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. Pierce County Community Connections, Sound View, 3602 Pacific Ave, Suite 200, Conference Room 1
· Friday, January 17, 12:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Pierce County Community Connections, Sound View, 3602 Pacific Ave, Suite 200, Conference Room 1
Donations of clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, jackets, socks, gloves, hats, scarves, duffle bags, non-perishable food, bottled water, can openers, flashlights, batteries, towels, and toiletries mare accepted at Catholic Community Services, Phoenix Housing Network at 7050 S. G St. in Tacoma, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
“The annual homeless count is critical to understanding trends,” stated Tess Colby, Homeless Programs Administrator for Pierce County Community Connections. “Volunteers play a crucial role in helping us determine an accurate count, especially among families and individuals who are unsheltered.”
Last year, volunteers helped collect data from over 1,303 homeless individuals in our county. They identified 539 single, unattached individuals, and 228 families with 464 children age 18 and under as homeless.
To volunteer or make a donation, call Rae Anne Giron at Pierce County Community Connections at (253) 798-6931.