BOONE — Coordinated by the Northwest Continuum of Care, Wednesday, Jan. 27, was the annual homeless Point-in-Time Count — the yearly documentation of the extent of homelessness in the High Country region (Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties).
The information from the PIT Count provides a valuable snapshot of the state and extent of homelessness in the region and informs support service providers on the priorities to prevent and end homelessness, stated the Hospitality House, a transitional living facility located in Boone for individuals and families struggling with 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 $337,625 in competitive grant funding.
The 2020 PIT Count documented 397 people experiencing homelessness, 25 percent of those being children and adolescents and 60 percent of the total unsheltered individuals.
“Since 2016, by expanding ‘housing first’ programs, we’ve increased the number of beds by 67 percent while decreasing unsheltered homelessness by 40 percent,” said Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina 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.”
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 call Hospitality House, the lead agency of the Northwest CoC. at (828) 264-127, and speak with Local System Administrator Shane Johnson or Coordinated Entry and Outreach Specialist Logan Shaut. Information may also be emailed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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.