Dec 29, 2017
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 $3M 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. However, due to the impact of the fires in Sonoma County, HUD has approved a one month delay for this year’s count to February 2018.
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, February 23, 2018. 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 2018 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.
If you would like to volunteer to help with the 2018 Count and have received permission from your supervisor, please sign up at this URL: www.surveymonkey.com/r/2018HomelessCountRegistration
For more information, contact Michael Gause, 565-1977 or Michael.Gause@sonoma-county.org.
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