The Point-in-Time (PIT) count is an annual survey mandated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Every local Continuums of Care conduct a survey of homeless individuals residing in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and safe havens; every odd numbered year the count includes a count of unsheltered individuals. Being an odd numbered year volunteers spread out across Butte Count this morning to conduct a survey of individuals living unsheltered in our community.
Several members of our staff took part in the count. Three teams spent this morning walking along creek beds and visiting encampments with short surveys that will help us to better understand the demographic make-up of the sheltered and unsheltered homeless in our county.
Walking along creek beds at 6:00 am may not sound like much fun, or very safe; the creek beds are filled with uneven ground, stones and, unfortunately a lot of debris, but you can learn a lot about the lives of the unsheltered when you walk the creek beds.
We met one person who had taken the time to decorate their little area with Poinsettias and few other personal items; another person had a created a little living space with a side table, mattress and chair. Even when the encampment was empty it was interesting to notice how so many had taken the time to make their “bed” before left to start their day.
The PIT count of unsheltered individuals will take place in 2017, but for now it’s back to work.