Annual homeless count expected to show decreasing numbers

Annual homeless count expected to show decreasing numbers
(Source: WAVE 3 News)

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Each year the Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness rallies volunteers from all walks of life to collect data on the people who are experiencing homelessness in our community.

While the Point-In-Time Count is required by HUD every other year, TCPH does the count every single year to get more accurate data.

The numbers and data collected help local organizations and government offices better provide resources that the homeless community needs. That information also helps to keep the nearly $8 million in HUD funding flowing into southern Arizona.

“Decreasing homelessness in our community impacts all of us in a positive way,” count coordinator Claudia Powell said.

Powell said volunteers are counting the homeless in one of two ways: either with a census count or with a location count.

The census count takes a look at the number of people who are sleeping outside within city limits, while the location count gathers data from people that gather at communal places such as those that offer free breakfast or free showers.

In her years leading the count, Powell says that not only has it had a lasting impact on her and her work, it’s also affected the volunteers.

“I’ve heard from more people who don’t work in this area in their day job how participating in this count has changed their life,” she said.

Powell says she’s noticed that the numbers have been relatively consistent. She says she anticipates that in the next few years those numbers will go down because of how services and resources can change to be more in line with what the community needs. She credits that in large part to the numbers and data collected from the Point-In-Time count.

“Learning about people’s experience helps to humanize people who are sleeping outside and experiencing homelessness and to know better ... what areas of our service, what areas of our system are functioning really well and what areas could use improvement,” Powell said.

After the numbers are collected Wednesday, Jan. 23, the TCPH team, along with the researchers they have a partnership with at the U of A, will analyze the data and submit it to HUD. In a few months, once the numbers are approved by HUD, they will be released. The research team says they anticipate that happening in June.

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