January 21, 2020
An annual count mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will provide a snapshot of homelessness in Champaign County and throughout the country. Organized locally by the Champaign County Continuum of Service Providers to the Homeless (CSPH), the Point-in-Time survey helps homeless service providers track progress towards ending homelessness in our community.
The 2020 Point-in-Time count in Champaign County will take place from 5:30pm to 8pm on Thursday, January 30. More than 30 volunteers are currently signed up to help. Working in teams, the volunteers will search the community for individuals and families experiencing homelessness and gather information about their housing situations.
“Ensuring we have a thorough and accurate count is critical to measuring homelessness in our community,” says CSPH Coordinator Thomas Bates. “It lets us get a snapshot of the need for homeless services locally, and that ties closely to securing federal funds for services that serve our most vulnerable.”
Congress utilizes the data collected from the Point-in-Time count to track the needs of people experiencing homelessness and to determine federal funding allocations for programs serving people experiencing homelessness. The Point-in-Time counts both sheltered (residing in emergency or transitional shelters for individuals and families experiencing homelessness) and unsheltered (living in spaces not meant for human habitation, such as cars or on the street) people. In 2019, 151 homeless individuals (149 sheltered in emergency shelter or transitional housing and 2 unsheltered) were identified among 99 households.
The Champaign County Continuum of Service Providers to the Homeless is a consortium of more than 25 non-profit and government agencies, faith-based organizations, and businesses committed to ending homelessness in Champaign County, such as the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, C-U @ Home, Cunningham Children’s Home, and Courage Connection.
Explains Bates, “The CSPH uses the Point-in-Time Count and other data to closely track the progress we’re making on our goal of ending homelessness in Champaign County. Knowing how many people struggle with homelessness—and why—helps us to develop programs and services to make homelessness a rare, brief, and one-time event here in Champaign County.”
CSPH welcomes new members, including agencies, faith-based groups, businesses, and interested community members searching for rewarding volunteer opportunities. The Continuum meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 3pm at the Vineyard Church in Urbana (1500 N. Lincoln Avenue). Those interested in joining can contact Bates at 217-328-3313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.