BROWARD COUNTY, FLA – It happens every year around this time. Hundreds of volunteers take to the streets to literally count and survey the thousands of homeless people and families living in Broward County.
It’s called the Homeless “Point in Time” (PIT) Count Survey mandated by the Federal Government to help communities grasp the magnitude of homeless individuals in their neighborhoods. Traditionally, the count occurs in one twenty-four hour period and provides a snapshot into a growing problem.
This year, technology will change the process and hopefully the outcome. Volunteers will spend three days identifying and surveying homeless individuals, information that will be used to assess their health and overall needs. The PIT count survey takes place on Tuesday, January 21 through Thursday January 23.
“With the help of the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Broward Commission, $350,000 in Law Enforcement Trust Funds was authorized to invest in homeless tracking software. Now if a homeless person shows up at a shelter here and then another shelter the next day, there will be a documented history of it and communication will be possible between agencies and those helping the homeless. We’ll be able to provide better service and assist law enforcement when we know the history of the person we’re dealing with,” said Mayor Barbara Sharief, who is a member of the Homeless Initiative Partnership (HIP) Advisory Board.
The technology will allow for quick results and turnaround. Placing the homeless in available housing will begin as early as January 30. The increased precise data places Broward County in an ideal position to qualify for a variety of grants and other funding targeted at helping the homeless.
“As Sheriff, I believe that homeless people aren’t problem people; they are people with problems, problems that can be corrected with help, understanding and guidance from our community,” stated Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.
In the end the Homeless Management Information System will assist in the formulation of a registry prioritizing the most chronic of the homeless. Once identified, Broward County and more than 200 organizations will seek to provide housing, healthcare and perhaps jobs to those most in need. The technology will increase the ability for Broward County to provide an award winning continuum of care.
The Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnership, the Broward Regional Health Planning Council, Inc., the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the TaskForce Fore Ending Homelessness, Inc., 2-1-1 Broward, Nova Southeastern University and Hands on Broward are joining forces to assist in the Homeless PIT Count Survey.
The 2013 Point in Time Count identified 2,810 homess individuals and families.
For more information on how you can volunteer, please email Sander Schrantz:firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.browardpointintime.org. For information on the Broward Homelessness Initiative Partnership please call contact Michael Wright at 954-357-6167.