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Wednesday, January 16,2013

National point-in-time count spotlights rural homelessness

The local component of a statewide count of homeless men, women and children living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, on the streets, and other places not meant for human habitation is being conducted this Tuesday, Jan. 22, from midnight until the last minute of the day, at 11:59 p.m., according to a news release.

The count is conducted through anonymous surveying throughout the county by service providers, volunteers, and people on foot. Coordinating the local count are the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio and the Athens County Continuum of Care (CoC) program, comprised of local agencies.

The Athens County Housing Coalition is asking local agencies and community members to help identify homeless persons for the count in order to illuminate rural homelessness and to connect people with resources.

"As a result of past counts, the county brings in over $500,000 a year in new resources to address homelessness," Diane Pfaff of the 317 Board said in the news release.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines homeless as persons who are sleeping in places not meant for human habitation, sleeping in emergency shelters, or living in transitional housing after having come from the a shelter or place not meant for human habitation.

Locally, the release said, the Point-In-Time Count will count persons staying at Good Works, Inc., My Sister's Place, ISAO Rapid Re-Housing and Transitional Housing, and Clem House. Last year's local count revealed 61 homeless persons living in shelters or transitional housing programs. The Point-In-Time Count also counted people that are considered unsheltered, meaning that they are living on the streets, in their cars, in abandoned buildings, etc. It found 13 unsheltered homeless persons living in Athens County.

The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio produces an annual Homeless Report, which can be found at

HUD requires that communities receiving Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance Grant funding to complete an annual sheltered and biennial unsheltered Point-In-Time Count during the last 10 days of January. The data collected during this count assists the local CoC locally and those across the state to plan future services geared towards ending homelessness, understand changes in trends among homeless populations, comply with reporting requirements from HUD, other funders and local stakeholders, and justify the need for continued resources to aide the homeless, the release said.

For more information about this year's count, to volunteer to participate in the count, or to report information on homelessness in the community, contact John Bass at 1-800-321-8293.


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