Pickens County joins forces to count homeless

By: Staff Report

PICKENS COUNTY — During the week of Jan. 27, The Upstate Continuum of Care – a local consortium of housing agencies, service providers, and governmental units committed to ending homelessness in the Upstate of South Carolina – will conduct a census of individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness.

Known as the Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, this annual census is an important tool for understanding the present needs of our local homeless population and providing direction for the development of future services.

Over the course of one week, trained community volunteers and diverse service providers will administer a short survey to homeless persons in sheltered and unsheltered locations throughout the Upstate.

The survey process allows the Continuum of Care to learn more about the housing situations and demographics of individuals and families who are homeless and to help connect them to local resources and services for which they may be eligible.

The PIT seeks to identify single adults as well as people in families who are staying in emergency shelter, transitional housing, temporary or seasonal centers, and on the street. In 2016, there is a special effort to reach unaccompanied youth (between the ages of 18 and 24) who have unstable housing conditions and veterans who are experiencing homelessness.

The 2015 PIT count identified 1,961 people who were homeless in the 13-county Upstate region that covers Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Edgefield, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Oconee, Pickens, Saluda, Spartanburg and Union counties.

This number included 345 chronically homeless individuals, 241 victims of domestic violence, and 196 families with at least one child. Last year’s count represented a 19.8 percent increase from the 2014 PIT count, which identified 1,636 people who were homeless in the Upstate.

The PIT is required annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which uses the data to indicate the total number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness on a given night across the country, to evaluate current homelessness reduction strategies, and to allocate housing and other resources.

Contact Natalie Worley, Upstate CoC PIT coordinator, at 864-770-0710 or nworley@unitedhousingconnections.org for more information or contact Eli Levine, AmeriCorps VISTA at United Way of Pickens County, at elevine@uwpickens.org.

Additional updates on the 2016 Upstate PIT Count can be found on the Upstate SC Point-in-Time Count Facebook page at www.facebook.com/upstatePIT

Visit www.schomeless.org for information about previous Point-in-Time Counts in the Upstate and across South Carolina.

Staff Report