A local organization known as TORCH will conduct a street count of homeless people in Anderson County on Jan. 24 as part of the 2013 Point-In-Time Count coordinated by Tennessee Valley Coalition to End Homelessness.
The Point-In-Time Count is a survey of homeless people in every county across the United States. Volunteers are needed to help with the count in Anderson County, a press release said.
Due to separate funding applications from the federal government, there are ten continuums of care, or CoCs, across the state. The local CoC will survey the homeless in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Loudon, Monroe, Sevier, and Union counties, a press release said.
During last year’s count, 777 homeless people were counted in the 12-county region.
“Unfortunately, homeless persons use a variety of public systems in inefficient and costly ways,” the release said. “While it may not be obvious, the chronically homeless create significant costs to local service programs. A recent study conducted in Knoxville showed that a chronically homeless person used approximately $37,000 in services per year.”
The Point-in-Time Count seeks to identify the number of homeless individuals and families in Anderson. During a 24-hour period, local volunteers and social service agency staff go into the community to gather information on homeless populations, the release said. The count not only measures the needs of the homeless, but also provides direction for future development of services. It is an important tool for resource development and planning. Results of the count provide the community with vital information to use in obtaining funding to support programs for the homeless in the county.
Volunteers are needed to perform the count throughout different areas in the county. There will be a training session from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday at TORCH, which is located at 320 Robertsville Road in Oak Ridge. Pre-registration is requested. You may call (865) 318-4788 to reserve a training space.
Cash donations and food vouchers are also needed so that when homeless families are found and counted, they can be provided a meal and alternative lodging.
For more information, call TORCH Executive Director Zabrina Minor at (205) 873-4537.