HELENA — On Thursday, January 27th, across the U.S., a Point-in-time survey is being conducted to measure housing instability and determine the number of resources needed to help those experiencing homelessness. Organizations like Good Samaritan Ministries are participating right here in Helena.
"The Point in Time Survey is to go out and to find as many homeless individuals or families that we can and to get a good count for verification for HUD, for funding for different programs and grants that we can use to help the homeless in town," said Babcock
Ara Babcock is the Assistance Coordinator for Good Samaritan and says the information gathered through the survey will give the Montana Continuum of Care Coalition and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development a clearer picture of what is needed in each community.
Here in Helena, housing is a crucial need.
"We need more apartments, so hopefully that and then just to get people stabilized in a home and continue to help them so that they can get their bills taken care of, and they're going to be stable and be able to take care of their rent and going forward, we want to make sure that happens as well," said Babcock.
In Helena, the number of those experiencing homelessness counted annually began to rise in 2019 and continued last year. Nearly 300 homeless people were counted in the 2021 survey, which is a more than 50 percent increase from the previous year.
Babcock hopes this survey will help those in need.
"The numbers have grown substantially since last year, and so the problem is real, and it's out there, and we need to really pay attention to it right now and do everything we can help out this situation," said Babcock.
God's Love, Healthcare for the Homeless, The Salvation Army, and United Way of Lewis and Clark Area are conducting surveys as well.