In 2020, Denton County will take part in the annual Point-in Time (PIT) Homeless Count, a coordinated effort to measure homelessness across Texas under the local direction of the Denton County Homeless Coalition led by United Way of Denton County, in association with the Texas Homeless Network.
On Jan. 23, trained volunteers assigned to zones will blanket Denton County from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. to make people experiencing homelessness count, according to a news release from UWDC. Groups of volunteers will use smartphones to survey individuals who are staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing and unsheltered locations. This PIT Count will provide a “snapshot” of homelessness in Denton County.
The census provides key data on gender, age, ethnicity, veteran status and more. The Count will indicate the minimum number of people experiencing homelessness in Denton County. Other forms of homelessness, such as people staying temporarily with friends, are not included in a PIT Count, according to the news release.
“The Point-In-Time Count helps us better understand what it means to be without housing and understand the barriers to housing faced by individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Denton County,” said Dani Shaw, community development manager with the city of Denton. “The data collected during the count helps our community plan for innovative solutions, improve services that lower barriers, and increase resources to help people move from homeless to housed.”
More volunteers are needed to effectively canvas the community, according to the United Way.
“We rely so much on local volunteers to make the Point-In-Time Count a success,” said Courtney Cross, director of mental health and housing initiatives for UWDC. “This year we are canvassing more of Denton County than ever before, and to do that we need volunteers willing to help us reach outlying communities and make our homeless population count.”
Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and have a smartphone to conduct surveys via an app. To learn more and sign up, click here.
Donations are also needed to support incentives for survey respondents, according to the news release. DCTA passes and $5 gas/grocery gift cards will be offered to people to respond to the PIT Count survey. All donations to the Denton County Homelessness Barriers Fund through Jan. 23 will support those incentives. Click here to donate. Gift cards can also be dropped off at the United Way office, 1314 Teasley Lane in Denton.