Locally, the homeless count is being coordinated by Gallia-Jackson-Meigs-Vinton Continuum of Care, a consortium of agencies in Southeast Ohio committed to eliminating homelessness in the region.
Those counted will be homeless men, women and children living in shelters, on the streets, and other places not meant for human habitation. The count will also include precariously housed individuals and families, defined as people living in substandard housing conditions, doubled- or tripled-up with family or friends, or expecting eviction within seven days.
The count happens for a 24-hour period beginning at midnight, Tuesday, Jan. 25, according to a statement released by Melissa Kimmel, executive director of Serenity House in Gallipolis. The count will take place at various locations throughout the state, including homeless shelters, city streets, and places not meant for human habitation, as well as not-for-profit agencies, service providers, and churches.
Locally, the count will be done by volunteers with the assistance of local officials. Those interested in volunteering or finding out more about the count, should contact Kimmel at 446-6752 or at email@example.com (note, there’s no “e” on “house” in the email address).
Kimmel states the count is done to determine how much funding will be available for homeless assistance in the state. In addition, the count helps assess progress under Ohio’s Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness and provides important information for updating the plan.
Recently the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Washington DC, released a report which claims Ohio has seen a 17 percent increase in families, as well as single adults, who were living with others (often family) or “doubled up” due to financial strains. Despite this or because of this, the report says Ohio’s homeless population actually declined slightly in 2009, possibly reflecting a trend of homeless people not sleeping on the street but certainly not sleeping in their own homes at night. The upcoming count may shed light on just how many of the local, homeless population are living in these conditions, among others.