Department of Community Development gearing up for Point-in-Time count

Volunteers will flock to the streets of Chester County the night of Jan. 29 and into the wee hours in an effort to obtain data for the 2014 Point-in-Time count, an annual census of individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

The Chester County Department of Community Development (DCD) facilitates the count, which is broken down into two categories: Sheltered and unsheltered.

For the sheltered count, the DCD will reach out to emergency shelters and traditional housing providers throughout the county on Jan. 29.

The unsheltered count is where the DCD will need the help of volunteers. Those who offer to help will have the chance to volunteer for two shifts from 10 p.m. to midnight and 12:30 to 2:30 a.m. Teams will be formed and sent out to a certain area to canvass over that time.

Volunteers will canvas areas including but not limited to Phoenixville, Spring City, Exton, Malvern, Paoli, West Chester, Coatesville, Parkesburg, Honey Brook, Kennett Square, Toughkenamon, Oxford and Nottingham, said Sarah Trently, manager of the 2014 count.

Last year, 125 volunteers and partners went out and the DCD hopes to continue building upon that.

The numbers gathered last year showed that while the amount of homeless are going down, the face of it is what is greatly changing.

The total of homelessness in 2013 dropped from 696 to 625, but those individuals who are unsheltered almost doubled from 24 to 43.

Those numbers were broken down even more for 2013 to show 11 households living in emergency shelters had children, a drop of three from 2012.

Kennett Square had the second highest number of unsheltered homeless with 13 of the 43, behind only West Chester, which had 22.

The count is in conjunction with a national and statewide effort sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

If you are interested in volunteering for the 2014 count on Jan. 29, please visit www.decadetodoorways.com to register or contact Sarah Trently at 610-344-6632 or strently@chesco.org.

About the Author

Candice Monhollan

Candice Monhollan is a 2012 Temple University graduate. She loves to cover sports, especially hockey. She enjoys marching with the Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps and has a love of U.S. military history, which includes reenacting. Reach the author at cmonhollan@dailylocal.com .