FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Todd Carter, Chief Development Director
Regional Homeless Point-in-Time Count January 31st
Annual count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families helps determine federal funding for Ashe, Avery, Watauga, Wilkes, Alleghany, Mitchell, and Yancey counties.
Boone, N.C. – (January 24, 2024): Wednesday, January 31, 2024, marks the annual homeless Point-in-Time Count. The Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, coordinated by the Northwest N.C. Continuum of Care (CoC), is the annual documentation of the extent of homelessness in the High Country region, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey counties. The information from the PIT Count provides valuable insight on the extent of homelessness in the region and informs support service providers on the priorities to prevent and end homelessness.
Point-in-Time data is important as it provides an approximate scope of homelessness in the seven-county region, and helps agencies in the Northwest N.C. CoC apply for funding to work towards ending homelessness. PIT data is submitted each year by the Northwest N.C. CoC to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) who then submits the report to U.S. Congress in its AHAR (Annual Homeless Assessment Report) each December.
The PIT Count is a one-day unduplicated count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families across the nation. The Point-in-Time Count is a requirement of HUD, which currently supports the Northwest N.C. CoC member agencies with $495,906 – or $644,81 annually including a special one-year NOFO (Notice of Funding Opportunities) — in competitive grant funding. Programs that have beds dedicated to serve homeless individuals and families also conduct a bed inventory for the Housing Inventory Count (HIC).
The 2023 PIT Count documented 304 people experiencing homelessness both sheltered and unsheltered, fifty percent of those being children and adolescents under the age of eighteen. During this one-night snapshot, 102 of the total individuals were unsheltered with nearly seventeen percent of those being children.
“We know we’ve seen an increase across our region in both sheltered and unsheltered homelessness and the number of people affected continues to rise,” states Northwest N.C. CoC lead and Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina executive director Tina B. Krause. “While agencies were able to leverage additional COVID relief funds to house more people during the pandemic, we are now seeing the effects of households losing their own COVID relief funds, fueling this increase in homelessness.”
The Continuum of Care asks churches, local governments agencies, school systems, law enforcement agencies and service providers – food pantries, shelters, community kitchens, utilities, and hospitals – who are in contact with individuals and families experiencing homelessness to contact Hospitality House of Northwest N.C, the lead agency of the Northwest CoC, so that everyone experiencing homelessness is counted. Please call (828) 264-1237 and speak with director of grant funding Ethan Flynn or email him at gr****@ho*******.org.
Adds Krause, “In order for our region to maximize its voice, the Northwest N.C. CoC needs active communities, across the seven counties, to make the Point-in-Time event effective in showing the picture of rural homelessness. The lack of safe, affordable housing continues to be a major obstacle and doing this will give decision makers in Congress the tools to leverage all available funding towards housing solutions.”
If you are experiencing homelessness, please come forward to be counted. Let a food pantry, school, community kitchen or church know where you are. The count respects confidentiality of those experiencing homelessness and does not obligate anyone for unwanted services. Knowing the extent of homelessness, particularly homeless families, and veterans, assists the development of support services to meet the basic needs of housing to those in need.
Hospitality House Northwest N.C. – Lead agency of Northwest Continuum of Care
VAYA Health / O.A.S.I.S. Inc. / Northwestern Regional Housing Authority / Veterans Affairs / Daymark Recovery Services