The Point-in-Time Count will take place on Wednesday, January 29, 2020. This is the one night each year when our community comes together to survey each person experiencing sheltered or unsheltered homelessness. It is also the time when we capture temporary and permanent housing capacity across the housing continuum. The Point-in-Time Count and Housing Inventory Count are activities required of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care (CoC) in order to receive federal homelessness funding assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Charlotte-Mecklenburg also goes above and beyond the minimum requirements to collect additional information to inform local decision-making.
Mecklenburg County Community Support Services leads the Point-in-Time Count for the Continuum of Care. Although the Point-in-Time Count is not until January 2020, planning efforts must begin now. This blog post is the “kick-off” of these planning activities; and provides information on how agencies and individuals can get involved.
The Point-in-Time Count is more than a funding requirement; it serves as an important reminder that, behind every data point, is a person who counts. In 2018, Charlotte-Mecklenburg branded our Point-in-Time Count as Everybody Counts Charlotte to call attention to both: we must ensure that everyone is counted, because each individual matters. By enumerating the problem of homelessness, the Point-in-Time Count activities is a call for action.
The lack of affordable housing contributes to both housing instability and homelessness. In Mecklenburg County, there is a 27,022-unit gap for households at or below 30% of Area Median Income. Housing that is affordable is the primary solution to reducing housing instability and ending homelessness.
This year’s Point-in-Time Count will also spotlight solutions because just as Everybody Counts, Housing Counts.
There are two planning meetings scheduled: December 12 (10-11:30am) and January 14 (1:30-3pm). Both will be held at Valerie C. Woodard (3205 Freedom Drive) in the Conference Center (Rooms 4014/4015).
The meeting in December will focus on methodology, survey questions, and early planning logistics; the January meeting will cover logistics and outstanding issues.
These planning meetings are open to anyone in the community. It is important that there is the broadest possible representation from all stakeholders. Stakeholders encompass any organizations and individuals who are impacted by the Point-in-Time Count and Housing Inventory Count: services such as street outreach, emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent housing providers; population-specific efforts such as domestic violence, youth, veterans, chronic homelessness and families; and location- and partner-specific entities, such as healthcare systems, schools, and the justice system.
If you are interested in attending, or learning more, please email PIT@mecknc.gov.
Additional information will be shared through www.EverybodyCountsCLT.org. Opportunities for involvement include signing up to complete surveys; donating winter items; and corporate participation.
Regular updates will also be shared through the Building Bridges blog; please pass along any or all of this material to others who may be interested in engaging with this important work.
The Point-in-Time Count can and must be more than just a required census activity for funding assistance. It offers communities the opportunity to see homelessness in a different way – as a face, a name, and a story. Volunteers annually remark that it is impossible to forget the experience of that intimate conversation with a complete stranger, asking deeply personal questions in the midst of a traumatic situation. It changes you. And, hopefully, positively impacts the lives of the individuals and families dealing with homelessness through driving needed changes in the community.
The Point-in-Time Count is important work. It grounds us in the “why” behind what we do. This “why” compels us to sustain the call for solutions until the problem is solved.
The community’s shared responsibility is to take the Point-in-Time Count experience and do something with it. Please consider signing up to participate in some way. For more information, email PIT@mecknc.gov.
Because Everybody Counts, Housing Counts.
Courtney Morton coordinates posts on the Building Bridges Blog. Courtney is the Housing & Homelessness Research Coordinator for Mecklenburg County Community Support Services. Courtney’s job is to connect data on housing instability, homelessness and affordable housing with stakeholders in the community so that they can use it to drive policy-making, funding allocation and programmatic change.