Point In Time Count of ‘Category One’ Homeless held in Evansville and Surrounding Counties
The evening of January 25 and morning of January 26 comprises the ‘Point in Time’ count — for counting the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in Evansville and surrounding counties.
The count is carried out by Aurora Evansville with the Commission on Homelessness Evansville and Vanderburgh County.
Outreach teams start with those using local shelters overnight, and then try to reach anyone who might be unsheltered outside as well.
Chris Metz is administrator for the commission. He says these counts are mandated annually by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“And what the Point in Time Count really does is number one, it allows us to dictate our future strategy — we see where men, women, families, children and veterans are experiencing homelessness in our community, which allows us to develop programs and solutions that can help serve those folks.”
Aurora Executive Director Zac Heronemus said the outreach groups use a state-mandated survey with individuals they find.
“Its main goal is to really identify where the individuals that are being surveyed are staying tonight,” he said. “So whether that be an emergency shelter, or transitional housing, motel/hotel, paid by a provider, or a place not meant for habitation.”
These individuals are defined as “Category One” homeless — the focus of the count.
Heronemus said these surveys help them learn more about the people experiencing homelessness.
“We're asking folks’ demographic information, we're asking veterans status, disability status, if they have any underlying health conditions, whether that's mental health or physical, developmental disabilities, or otherwise.”
Metz said homeless category one numbers have been decreasing in the annual counts. Last year about 350 were counted.
“So it helps inform our future approach and our future strategy. But it also serves as a performance metric for us, how are we doing in terms of making sure everybody in our community has housing.”
Aurora also coordinated counts in Gibson, Knox County, Perry, Warrick and Posey counties.
A preliminary count will be available in about 10 days, and the official count will come back from the state later this year.
The next count by Aurora will happen over the summer.