(The Point in Time Survey is required by Continuums of Care that receive funding from HUD. A 24 hour period of time during the last week of January, volunteers and staff memberss go out into the county to administer the survey and to get the most accurate count possible of the homeless in the area. Below are reflections of two Millikin University Students who volunteered.)
Tamica Hatchett – Point in Time Count Reflection
Recently, I participated in the Point-In-Time homeless count for Macon County. I volunteered to help with counting the homeless in our community for many reasons but most of all because I have experienced homelessness and I realize how important it is to get this information and ensure continued funding and services for people who are homeless. I was not exactly sure what to expect. Initially, I just thought we would be going to shelters in the community and gather information from them. I learned from the coordinator of the homeless count that we would be also looking for people who were living on the streets. We traveled to many different areas in the community and although we found evidence of people living in abandoned buildings, abandoned cars, and in wooded areas, we did not encounter any homeless individuals. This made me hopeful that perhaps the people who normally lived in these places were in an actual shelter for the night. Our group of volunteers did count individuals at a shelter of sorts. It made me sad to see so many people in a position that I was in myself not too long ago. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and I think a lot of people would benefit from seeing firsthand how homelessness affects our community. I look forward to helping with the count in the future.
Basia Brown -Point in Time Count Reflection
The purpose of Point in Time count is to gather statistical evidence for grant proposals for our communities. Literally count how many of us have the unfortunate circumstance of spending the night in a place that is not home and spending the day pondering where the next bed will be. I was enlightened by the many stories of trial and triumph told throughout the day. Sorrow filled my mind and heart once hearing such stories of unjust and cruelty, but overwhelmed with joy to find some remain happy despite the circumstance. They say “those who have the less, give the most”. This statement could not be truer. I had to the pleasure of meeting various individuals who all gave me insight on the importance of our role and social services. It was surely reassuring. Homelessness’s stigma deprives individuals of their personality and value to society but individually those connotations can be proven false by embracing ones we disregard because permissible per society. The purpose of the Point in Time Count was to numerically identify our homeless to improve lives. Having the privilege to count stories allowed my personal motivation to manifest within the day’s purpose. Passion must drive our actions. Our actions must harvest progression. Progression must ignite hope.
Thanks to these two students and all the volunteers who participated.