Every day in Pierce County, hundreds of people sleep in cars, shelters, or on the streets. They are someone’s mom, dad, child, or friend. Do you ever wonder how they lost everything and became homeless? Or how many more people are in a similar situation? We answer these questions every year with the Point-In-Time Count.
Pierce County Human Services is recruiting volunteers to conduct interviews with homeless individuals and families during the Point-In-Time Count on Friday, Jan. 25. Volunteers must be over 18 years old, have access to a smart phone, and commit to attend a training. The remaining three volunteer trainings will be held over the next week:
- Jan. 10 – 5 to 7 p.m., Pierce County Soundview Building, 3602 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma
- Jan. 14 – 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., South Hill Library, 15420 Meridian E. in Puyallup
- Jan. 16 – 5 to 7 p.m., Bonney Lake Library, 18501 90th St. E. in Bonney Lake
If you are unable to volunteer, you can help by donating items such as warm clothes, blankets, hygiene kits, first aid kits, hand warmers, and packaged food like granola bars or bottled water. Donations provide a starting point for the conversation and are given out to anyone experiencing homelessness on the night of the count. Donations can be dropped off through Wednesday, Jan. 23 at multiple locations:
- Any Pierce County Library
- Lakewood Community Center, 9112 Lakewood Dr. SW. #121 in Lakewood
- Pierce County Soundview Building, 3602 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma
- Share and Care House, 702 23rd Ave. SE in Puyallup
- Vadis, 1701 Elm St. E. in Sumner
During the count, human service professionals and volunteers survey people experiencing homelessness. Communities use the survey data to better understand why people become homeless, plan thoughtful programs that respond to their needs, track trends over time, and identify where people sleep. Last year during the count, most people reported they lived in Pierce County before experiencing homelessness, showing that it is a crisis anyone can face.
“The Point-in-Time (PIT) Count is a count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single night in January. Each year, the Count is a key measure used to inform priorities for federal, state, and local funding and helps gauge progress toward ending homelessness for vulnerable individuals and families. We are thankful to the many volunteers that help us through this effort,” said Peter Ansara, Pierce County Human Services Director.
Everyone has a story. Everyone counts, no matter where they live. As a volunteer, you are part of the solution. Interested parties should register online. For more information about the Count, volunteer opportunities, or donations, contact Valeri Knight at 253-798-6931.