Wayne collecting data on homelessness

By OWEN WALSH
Posted 1/15/20

HONESDALE, PA — The Wayne County Housing Department is holding its annual Point in Time (PIT) homelessness analysis in late January.In past years, this data was collected by volunteers who …

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Wayne collecting data on homelessness

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HONESDALE, PA — The Wayne County Housing Department is holding its annual Point in Time (PIT) homelessness analysis in late January.

In past years, this data was collected by volunteers who would go out and “hit the pavement” to estimate the number of homeless citizens in Wayne County. This year, housing coordinator Vanessa McConnell said the county will hold its first ever “Come and Be Counted Event.”

The warming station will be open from 8 a.m. January 23, until around 3 p.m. at 330 12th Street in Honesdale on the lower floor. The station is open to anyone who is unsheltered on January 23 or during the night of January 22.

McConnell said that the department is specifically interested in identifying any youths who lack shelter during the winter.

For the physical canvassing and count, teams of three to five volunteers will meet for a brief orientation and training session at the Honesdale Senior Center before heading out to every corner of the county.

The volunteers provide care packages containing toiletries and other necessities, as well information about where to get help. The teams also collect some basic information the county needs to provide to funders when seeking homeless assistance dollars.

Many of the individuals and families encountered during the annual count are already known to authorities, but the volunteers typically see new faces every year as well.

In 2017 and 2018, Wayne County secured nearly half a million dollars in Federal Housing & Urban Development (HUD) funding. In that time, 217 individuals experiencing homelessness received assistance from these programs, including families with children. More recently, Wayne County Human Services can now offer emergency-use apartments, transitional housing for youth, general transitional housing (along with money to move out), rapid re-housing to end homelessness, homeless prevention dollars, family-unification programming, and behavioral health specific units.

According to the Wayne County Housing Department, the PIT counts help the county secure state and federal funding for future homelessness and homelessness prevention programs.

Most homeless programming in the county must be accessed via a coordinated entry system. To access the system, the person in housing crisis should call 211, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., to be prioritized for the programming most appropriate for their level of care. A live person can be reached 24/7, but the full assessment process is limited to those hours.

Homeless, Honesdale

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