Point-in-Time Homeless Count begins Jan. 25

By Carol Broeder

GILA COUNTY – What does it take to end homelessness in our community? A shared vision, housing solutions, and reimagined systems.

In other words, it takes all of us.

That is according to Continuum of Care Coordinator Allison Torres, with the Gila County Community Services Department.

Our County is part of what is known as the “Balance of State Continuum of Care (BoSCoC),” a state program for “non-metro” counties in Arizona, she explains.

The program coordinates funding for housing resources and services for people experiencing homelessness.

In addition, goals and initiatives are created, which the Local Coalition to End Homelessness (LCEH) promotes within the community.

“The ultimate goal, of course, is ending homelessness,” Torres says.

The County’s Community Services Department is the lead agency for our local LCEH, better known as the “Gila County Homeless Task Force.”

“We meet monthly to address homelessness issues, share resources, promote community goals, explore funding, and more!” says Torres, adding, “All in Gila County are welcome!”

From Wednesday, Jan. 25-Monday, Jan. 30, the Homeless Task Force and the County will conduct its “Point in Time” (PIT) count survey, which is submitted to the State, then ultimately to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Among other things, the statistics are used for “funding considerations, trying to bring new resources into our community, raising awareness and measuring progress on addressing the needs of those experiencing homelessness,” Torres explains.

The PIT count surveys will ask unsheltered individuals where they stayed the night of Jan. 24.

“We are shooting for Jan. 25 to be our big survey evening in both northern and southern Gila County,” Torres says.

In southern Gila County, the CAP office at 5515 S. Apache Ave., Suite 200, Globe, will also conduct surveys from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Jan. 25-27.

“Our big event will be a dinner at St. Paul’s (220 E Cedar St.) in Globe on Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 4 to 6 pm.,” in collaboration with the Homeless Coalition of Cobre Valley, Torres says. “We will also have jackets, blankets, and some other basic clothing and hygiene items available for those in need.”

In northern Gila County, volunteers will be at New Directions–The Warming Center, 601 AZ-260, Payson, which opens 4 p.m. daily and serves dinner from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Showers will also be available.

Volunteers will conduct the surveys during these hours from Wednesday, Jan. 25-Sunday, Jan. 30.

PIT count surveys may also be completed from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 25-Friday, Jan. 27, at the Community Action Program (CAP) office, 514 S. Beeline Highway, Payson.

Torres points out that, along with events and surveys at specific locations, other volunteers will do street outreach all five days.

While volunteers are welcome, they will need to receive brief training and sign a confidentiality statement, she explains.

Those who would like to get involved with the cause may attend the Homeless Task Force meetings, held via Zoom at 10 a.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month.

Due to the PIT count, the January meeting was held at 10 a.m. on Jan. 19.

“This will allow for discussion and training in preparation for the surveys to be completed the next week,” says Torres, who is also the contact for the Homeless Task Force.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Allison Torres at 928-425-7631 or via email at atorres@gilacountyaz.gov