Every day in Pierce County, hundreds of people sleep in cars, shelters, or on the street. They are someone’s mom, dad, child, or friend. Do you ever wonder how they lost everything and became homeless? Or how many people in your community are in a similar situation? We answer these questions, and many more, every year through the Point-In-Time (PIT) Count.
Pierce County Human Services is recruiting volunteers to conduct interviews with individuals and families during the Point-In-Time Count on Friday, Jan. 24. Volunteers must register online, be over 18 years old, have access to a smart phone, and commit to attend a training session.
“We use the PIT Count to help us better understand how we can help our neighbors in crisis,” said Heather Moss, Pierce County Human Services. “Our goal is to ensure that homelessness is rare, brief, and one-time. We are thankful to the many volunteers that help us through this effort.”
There are six upcoming volunteer training opportunities:
- Jan. 6 – 1 to 3 p.m., Pierce County Administrative Center and Library, 3005 112th St. E. in Tacoma
- Jan. 8 – 5 to 7 p.m., Pierce County Soundview Building, 3602 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma
- Jan. 10 – 9 to 11 a.m., Pierce County Soundview Building, 3602 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma
- Jan. 13 – 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Pierce County Soundview Building, 3602 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma
- Jan. 14 – 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Key Center Library, 8905 Key Peninsula Hwy. NW. in Lakebay
- Jan. 16 – 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Bonney Lake Justice Center, 9002 Main St. E. in Bonney Lake
Even if you can’t volunteer, you can still help by donating items such as socks, blankets, hygiene kits, first aid kits, hand warmers, and packaged food like granola bars or bottled water. Donations are given out to anyone experiencing homelessness and provide a positive way to start a conversation.
Donations can be dropped off through Thurs., Jan. 23 at multiple locations:
- Any Pierce County Library
- Any Tacoma Public Library
- Lakewood Community Center, 9112 Lakewood Dr. SW. in Lakewood
- Tillicum/Woodbrook Community Center, 14916 Washington Ave. SW. in Lakewood
- Mountain View Community Center, 3607 122nd Ave. E. Suite A in Edgewood
- Share and Care House, 702 23rd Ave. SE. in Puyallup
- Vadis, 1701 Elm St. E. in Sumner
- Comprehensive Life Resources, 1305 Tacoma Ave. S. Suite 305 in Tacoma
During the Point-In-Time Count, human service professionals and volunteers across the U.S. survey people experiencing homelessness. The data is analyzed and used by communities to plan thoughtful programs and track trends over time.
Last year, volunteers identified 629 persons sleeping unsheltered outdoors, in cars, or in abandoned buildings—a decrease of 16% from 2018. In addition, 857 people were sheltered in emergency shelters or transitional housing units. Most of them lived in Pierce County before experiencing homelessness, showing that it is a crisis anyone can face.