The Department of Community Connections and Tacoma-Pierce County Coalition to End Homelessness are seeking volunteers to gather census data of the homeless population and those on the verge of becoming homeless in Pierce County. The annual survey – which is in its 17th year – is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 24 and Friday, Jan. 25.
More than 100 volunteers are needed county-wide to survey individuals and families at meal sites, day shelters, health clinics and on the streets. The Homeless Network is also accepting donations of personal items that will be distributed over the two day period.
“The Homeless Network relies on the community’s help to make this a successful effort,” said Sarah Kluesner, chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County Coalition to End Homelessness. “We encourage employees in the public and private sectors to ask fellow workers, friends or community members to volunteer or organize donation drives.”
Volunteers are required to attend one of three scheduled trainings prior to participation. At the training, representatives from the Homeless Network will explain the reasons for the survey, discuss the process by which data is collected, and provide safety information. Workshops will be held at the following locations:
Friday, Jan. 11, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Gig Harbor Family YMCA
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. OR Wednesday, Jan. 16, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sound View Building
3602 Pacific Ave., Conference Room 1
Tacoma, WA 98418
“While we saw street homelessness decrease significantly last decade, it has held constant over the last several years,” stated Troy Christensen, Homeless Administrator for Pierce County Community Connections. “This year, the survey is especially important as we try to understand the impact of the continuing economic changes in our communities. Having an accurate sample will assist us with planning and funding.”
Donations of personal items such as clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, jackets, socks, gloves, hats, scarves, duffle bags, non-perishable food, bottled water, can openers, flashlights/batteries, towels, and toiletries can be delivered to Catholic Community Services, Phoenix Housing Network at 7050 S. G St. in Tacoma, WA 98406 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The data collected provides a picture of the homeless issues in Pierce County, drives planning efforts, and leverages public and private funding for homeless housing and services. Last year, volunteers helped collect data from over 1,997 homeless individuals in our county. They identified 687 single, unattached individuals. The survey counted 374 families with 752 children age 18 and under as homeless during the 24 hour census period.
To volunteer or for more information about the 2013 survey, contact Rae Anne Giron at Pierce County Community Connections at 253-798-6931.
Information provided by Pierce County.