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Home > Who We Are > News > 2015 > 01 > Point in Time Count: Why is it important?

Point in Time Count: Why is it important?

Jan 29, 2015

      Homelessness occurs everywhere, in urban and rural areas, on the East Coast and West Coast and every state in-between. Sometimes in may be visible but most of the time it is not. Homeless individuals are your neighbors, friends, a veteran returning home, an infant, and a high school basketball star. Homelessness looks different in each community and it is the responsibility of that community to identify the individuals who do not have a roof over their head on a day to day basis.

      The Point in Time Count (PIT) is a count that occurs every January. The count is the only time in the year most cities, including Cedar Rapids, have the resources to attempt to accurately count the homeless population. Emergency shelters, transitional housing, and rapid rehousing programs, report to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on the number of individuals in each of these programs across the community, but that is the easy part. The challenge is identifying individuals who cannot access traditional homeless services. A street count is administered in our urban centers in order to identify individuals who are living in areas not meant for habitation. This might be an abandoned home, a city park, a car, or under a bridge. The Point in Time Count is very important to our community, here are a few reasons why:

1. This year HACAP is leading the coordination of the street count in the City of Cedar Rapids with the assistance of other community partners. Teams of individuals will search on foot through various areas within the city bringing with them backpacks filled with blankets and food. This event helps feed the homeless and try and get them a safe place to stay.

2. The count will help our community get a more accurate representation for what homelessness looks like in Cedar Rapids and will allow homeless assistance providers to leave information on programs that may help them find and stay in a home.

3. The information gathered during a single night in January will assist the community and homeless assistance providers on what types of services are needed in order to end homelessness in the City of Cedar Rapids.

      Every individual should have the opportunity for a place to call home on a cold winter night. The Point in Time Count is the first step to help our communities achieve this goal. In 2014, HACAP served over 723 homeless individuals in 6 Eastern Iowa counties (Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn, and Washington) with our homeless assistance programs. The mission of these programs is to end homelessness among veterans, single individuals, and families. PIT is a beginning point to see how many are homeless in the community and starting the process of giving assistance to those in need.


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