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Volunteer to Count the Homeless in Sonoma County


Volunteer to Count the Homeless

Do you want to make a difference in your community? Volunteer with your neighbors to help us understand homelessness in Sonoma County.

On Friday, January 27th, Sonoma County will be conducting our 2017 Point-in-Time Count to understand the number of homeless individuals living in Sonoma County. We are in need of community volunteers to work alongside currently or previously homeless guides to count the number of homeless individuals they see across all areas of Sonoma County.

The data we collect will be combined with shelter and survey data to give us a valid, accurate snapshot of homeless individuals, youth, and families. The resulting data will also help secure Sonoma County’s funding for homeless services for the following year.

Sonoma County Homeless Census & SurveyFriday, January 27th, 2017 - 6am-10am

Volunteer Locations will be in: Guerneville, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Santa Rosa & Sonoma Valley 

Volunteers must be over the age of 18 and willing to attend a one-hour training a week prior to the event

Interested in more details & Participating?

Please visit our online registration link at

or feel free to contact one of the following individuals:

Michael Gause, Sonoma County,

(707) 565-1977

Connie Chu, Applied Survey Research, 

(408) 813-2419,

Volunteers are needed for the 2017 Sonoma County Point-In-Time Homeless Count. Volunteer participation is critical to the success of this annual countywide effort. Volunteers will be asked to work with expert homeless guides recommended by by service providers, and to drive/walk all over assigned routes from approximately daybreak to 10am. Volunteers are expected to have a car and a cell phone, be willing to help with transportation needs, and be able to walk approximately 2-3 miles if necessary. No one will be asked to walk into any area or place where safety may be a concern. Additionally, all volunteers are strongly recommended to attend a training session. Training details will be provided in January 2017.


2017 Homeless Count - FAQ


- HUD requires recipients of federal homelessness assistance funds to conduct a point-in-time census of homeless people in their jurisdictions at least once every two years. In 2016, Sonoma County moved to an annual count to better track changes in the homeless population and progress toward ending homelessness. 

- For Sonoma County, this Point-in-Time Count is required to maintain eligibility for the approximately $3.1M in federal funding that flows to homeless programs throughout the County.

- The Community Development Commission is lead agency for Sonoma County’s Continuum of Care, which coordinates planning for actions to assist currently homeless people and prevent currently housed people from becoming homeless, and oversees the Point-in-Time Count.

- HUD prescribes the Point-in-Time Count to be conducted during the last 10 days of January in order to be able to compile results nationally.

- The winter date was selected by HUD to maximize the number of people seeking and using shelters to reduce the number of unsheltered homeless people who may not be visible and therefore not counted.

- This year’s Point-in-Time Count will be conducted on Friday, January 27th, 2017. The timeframe is approximately 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. There will be five deployment sites throughout the major sectors of the County. 

- The same methodology is being employed in 2017 as was used in all previous counts since 2009, to facilitate a longitudinal analysis of the results. 

- The Count depends heavily on volunteers willing to perform the census-tract based enumeration in the early morning hours.

- In all previous counts since 2009, County employees made up a significant portion of the volunteer base that teamed-up with paid homeless individuals, or recently homeless individuals, to canvass the entire county. Volunteers with automobiles, flashlights and cell phones are especially in high demand.

- Risk Management has cleared County employees for participating in the Count provided they can meet the work requirements of the Count. 

- Employees may use County vehicles for this work pursuant to policy. 

- Volunteers who sign up will receive training prior to the Count date. There will be multiple training locations and dates and time, and there will be an online option.

- Employees must receive permission from their supervisor before participating in the Count and supervisors are encouraged to approve employee participation if it is operationally feasible. The CDC does not have funding to pay County employees to participate in the Count. Due to the time of the Count, supervisors have some options as to how allow County employees to participate: 1) if it occurs during an employees’ regular work schedule, it can be considered normal work time; 2) supervisors can allow employees to flex their work schedule to allow for the Count time. Allowance of flex time must also be in accordance with any applicable MOU provisions. Questions regarding how to allow employees to participate in the County from a pay or work schedule standpoint should be directed to your department’s assigned Employee Relations Analyst.