Tonight is an important night for homeless people and their advocates across the state of Idaho.

Idaho’s 16th annual Point-In-Time (PIT) count will be conducted for tonight – Wednesday, Jan. 22, -- by the Balance of State Continuum of Care (CoC) and coordinated by Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA).

“The primary goal of the PIT count is to provide a one-night snapshot of the number of homeless persons in Idaho,” explained Steve Thomas, executive director of Family Promise in the Lewis Clark Valley. Thomas is on the PIT committee and is a member of the Human Needs Council that meets monthly in Grangeville.

Thomas explained for this count, homeless persons are defined as those who are living on the streets, residing in places not meant for habitation (storage facilities, abandoned houses, places without water and/or electricity) or those who are currently residing in emergency shelters or homeless transitional housing projects.

HUD’s definition of homelessness for the PIT count does not include persons who may be staying with friends or relatives, in a hotel/motel, in a treatment facility, in jail, or in rapid rehousing or permanent housing project for formerly homeless persons.

Across the state, the surveys will be taken from tonight, Jan. 22, asking where the homeless person slept this night. The survey has several questions that will be filled out by a third-party volunteer; however, the questions that make the survey valid will include where the person slept, their birth date and at least part of their first and last names.

In 2019, statistics revealed this showed the unsheltered homeless count increased by 53 percent in Idaho.

Information gathered will help communities plan services and programs to appropriately address local needs, measure progress in decreasing homelessness, and identify strengths and gaps in a community's current homelessness assistance system.

Anyone who is homeless who would like to take the survey locally can call Community Action Partnership in Grangeville at 208-983-0437, or Idaho Department of Health and Welfare at 208-983-2522.

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