HELENA — This upcoming Thursday, the Point in Time Survey is taking place. This survey brings to light the number of homeless across the Helena area and beyond, helping to pave the way for helpful programs.
“This survey’s really important,” says Community Impact Coordinator at United Way, Jeff Buscher.
Under the guidance of the federal HUD program, United Way along with a group of volunteers will report on the number of unsheltered across the tri-county area of Jefferson, Broadwater, and Lewis and Clark Counties.
“HUD collects this data, federal dollars are attached to the numbers, and those dollars come back to our state, back to our local community, and enables us to do the programming that we provide for our unsheltered neighbors in our local community,” says Buscher.
Before going out to do the traditional count, there will be 4 locations where homeless folks can gather to grab some food and participate in the count. Those 4 locations are God’s Love, Our Place, the Lewis and Clark Library, and at a parking lot near Walmart. United Way will continue to collect information during that following week, but all that information will be about that one night.
They look for people out in tents, in emergency shelters, and even in temporary situations like hotels.
For the official count, they are not able to count or necessarily reach everyone who some may consider homeless such as schoolchildren staying with extended family or friends or folks who may be sleeping in their cars.
Buscher says that the Point in Time Survey provides the data that helps dictate the amount of funding for programs that help the homeless.
“Funding that trickles down to our county, to our city. County provides funding for running places like Good Samaritan, Our Place, things like that,” says Buscher
For anyone that’s interested in helping, Buscher says that they’re still looking for a handful of volunteers.
“I do have spots for a few more people. The way they can contact me is just e-mail me at the United Way, Jeff@unitedwaylca.org,” says Buscher.