In January, Wyoming agencies are asked to report the number of homeless individuals within their community. This number helps determine funding needs that will provide services to help these individuals. The funds are used by local organizations to provide homeless families and individuals with food, housing, health care, and other programs.
According to the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development, a person is considered homeless if they are living somewhere that is not meant for dwelling, such as a car; or a transitional living space, such as a motel or doubled up in a house or an apartment that is not their own.
“We have found that many people think that being homeless means you are living on the streets. This is not always the case. Often times someone that is homeless has been staying with friends and family, but they have no home of their own,” said Ronda Lee, chair of Continuum of Care in Southwest Wyoming.
Lee stated that providing emergency assistance to a chronically homeless individual can cost a community up to and over $100,000. However, when dedicated case management, housing and health care is made available, the cost to the community is reduced. Lee stressed the need for accurate numbers from the Point-in-Time Count are essential for continued support to the homeless in our community.
This year, Wyoming Continuum of Care and United Way of Southwest Wyoming are working together to gather an accurate count. They are asking homeless families and individuals to meet with volunteers on January 24th to be counted. Volunteers will be available from 8am – 5pm at 2 sites in Rock Springs; United Way’s Gifts in Kind, 165 K Street in Rock Springs, Rock Springs Housing Authority, 233 C St., and one in Green River; Expedition Academy, 351 Monroe Ave., Green River.
“Our goal is to count every homeless person in our community. Personal identification will not be collected. The Point-In-Time Count is a national event that provides an opportunity for communities to take a “snap shot” of homelessness to help determine the need for services,” said Kathy Tacke, executive co-director at United Way of Southwest Wyoming.
Participants will be given food and other items when they go to the sites to be counted. Community members that know of any homeless individuals who may need a ride or assistance, please call Ronda Lee 307-256-3280.
Last year local organizations were able to assist over 600 homeless individuals in Wyoming.
Please contact Ronda Lee at 307-256-3280 or the United Way office at 362-5003 for more information.