AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - In order to address the homeless situation, the City of Amarillo said an accurate survey of the homeless is needed.
The Point in Time Count homeless survey is a national initiative required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
On January 24, volunteers will go across Amarillo and get a count of the homeless population by giving a voluntary short survey to homeless on the streets and in shelters.
“The volunteers will go out in teams, and we’re looking at between three to four in a team,” said Continuum of Care Program Coordinator Amy Dixon. “They will go out with people that have been out before and it’s completely safe.”
Receiving information for the survey will also be easier than previous years.
“This year, we’re using a mobile app called Counting Us and it will provide a lot cleaner data,” said Dixon.
The surveys provide valuable information to help take care of the homeless population in hopes to get them off the streets.
“Ultimately, the homeless individuals do benefit from this,” said Dixon. “HUD uses our count to determine the amount of funding that our community will receive and will go towards the homeless agencies that provide the services for our homeless individuals and families.”
The survey will help agencies such as Family Support Services, the Veteran Resource Center and Emergency Safe House.
“It’s so we have a realistic number of who it is that’s residing here so that way we can seek funds appropriately for the amount of people that we have here that are homeless,” said Family Support Services Director of Emergency House Services Michelle Shields. “It’s really important that we are able to give accurate numbers of what we have here in the Panhandle.”
Shields explained why the survey means more than getting numbers of Amarillo’s homeless.
“It’s also about having somebody who will talk to them and say ‘What is it you need,' ‘You matter,’ and ‘I see you, and you’re a person who lives here and counts,’” said Shields. “So, it’s some personal attention, and it’s offering them a bottle of water, some warm coffee, but it’s finding out what it is that they need and they identify they need, not what we think they need.”