Volunteers needed for homeless survey - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Volunteers needed for homeless survey

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It's called the Point-in-Tme Count -- a snapshot of the state's homeless population.

Connie Mitchell, executive director of the Institute for Human Services said she's focused on two demographics that have previously been under-counted

"This year we're particularly interested in locating unaccompanied youth, because we know that has been under-counted in the past," she said.

Another category is unsheltered families.

The federal government requires the nationwide survey to dispense its dollars. Homeless service providers use it to track trends.

"The information we collect doing this every year helps to inform and shape the services that out there and locate those who are in need of a home," said Kanui G. Bell, IHS director of Clinical Program Development and Training.

Bell said surveyors will go out in teams led by outreach workers. Last year's count was 4,353 homeless on Oahu, 6,246 statewide.

"I believe that this count may be higher just because we're making a more concerted effort to find certain populations," Mitchell said.

Volunteers will ask a homeless person where they slept on January 22, 2013. The week-long effort starts Wednesday.

"It's really awesome to see how enthusiastic folks are, wanting to do it again after they've had that experience," Bell said.

Service providers will count the homeless in shelters while volunteers count the homeless on the street. The total becomes the number of homeless on a given night.

"There are a lot of people that are out there without the regular niceties of home that we want to find," Mitchell said.

IHS needs about 100 helpers for Oahu's Point-in-Time Count.  Contact IHS at 845-7150.

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