Last year, the Pinellas County Homeless Leadership Board gathered hundreds of volunteers to help determine just how prevalent the homeless situation is in Pinellas County. The board is reaching out to the community for help again this year, saying they need about 300 more volunteers to step up and help count the homeless population on Jan. 29.
But this is more than just counting people, says Rhonda Abbott, the board's CEO.
“We ask the people surveyed about how they ended up homeless, how long they have been homeless and questions about what might be keeping them homeless,” she says, adding that the survey data helps the organization prioritize services and come up with a better strategy to help.
The survey, called Point In Time (PIT), is required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Florida Department of Children and Families to ensure continued funding. Last year volunteers counted 5,887 homeless adults and 2,526 homeless children.
The homeless board, a non-profit member of LocalShops1, partners with service providers to provide emergency services to homeless individuals and families and help them transition to permanent housing.
"It is crucial to understand that no matter how impossible a situation may seem, there are organizations in this community who understand and are here to help address almost any need and restore hope,” says Abbott.
To sign up to as a volunteer, register at www.PinellasHomeless.org. For more information contact Abbott at 727-528-5762 or Rhonda@PinellasHomeless.org.
The 2013 PIT report can be found on the county's website, pinellascounty.org.
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