BOONE — Wednesday, Jan. 29, marks the annual Point-in-Time Count. The PIT Count, coordinated by the Northwest Continuum of Care, is the annual documentation of the extent of homelessness in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties.
The information from the PIT Count provides a valuable snapshot of homelessness in the state and High County region, and it also informs support service providers on the key factors to prevent and end homelessness. The PIT Count is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which currently supports the Northwest CoC member agencies with $340,169 in competitive grant funding.
The 2019 PIT Count documented 417 people experiencing homelessness in the region, 36 percent of those being children and adolescents and 61 percent of the total unsheltered individuals.
“Since 2016, by expanding “housing first” programs we’ve increased the number of beds by 30 percent while decreasing unsheltered homelessness by 19.8 percent,” said Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina's Executive Director Tina B. Krause.
“However, there is still much work to be done. As identified by HUD’s most recent Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, the Northwest North Carolina Continuum of Care has the third highest percentage of unsheltered families experiencing homelessness in rural America,” said Krause.
The Northwest CoC asks churches, local government law enforcement agencies and service providers — food pantries, shelters, community kitchens, schools, utilities and hospitals — with knowledge of individuals and families experiencing homelessness to contact Local System Administrator Shane Johnson by emailing email@example.com or call the Hospitality House at (828) 264-1237 ext. 5.
If you are experiencing homelessness, 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.