The Homeless Street Count is conducted in an effort to learn more about the individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Portland/ Multnomah County who are unsheltered. It captures a snapshot of those sleeping outside, on the street, in a vehicle, or other place not intended for human habitation on a given night. If your organization comes into contact with people who are homeless and unsheltered, we need your help to ensure the count is as complete and accurate as possible.
What does participation entail?
Organizations can participate in the Homeless Street Count in a variety of ways:
- Survey people at your site: Fill out a Street Count survey form for anyone coming to your organization for services during the last week in January who says they slept or will sleep outside on the night of Wednesday, January 28.
- Conduct outreach: If your organization conducts outreach to people sleeping outside, we encourage you to participate in our coordinated outreach strategy during the week of the count. Contact Street Count coordinator Kris Smock at email@example.com for more information.
- Provide data from your files: If you have clients who you know slept outside on Wednesday night, January 28, you can pull the information on those clients from your files and submit it electronically or on the paper survey form. If you plan to submit your data electronically through HMIS, please contact Wendy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
- Provide information on camp locations: If you know about the locations of homeless camps in Multnomah County, please send the information (street intersection, GPS coordinates, and/or a detailed description) to Kris Smock at email@example.com before January 20, 2015. The location information will be shared with outreach workers so that they can visit the camps during the count.
What support is available for organizations that participate in the count?
- Volunteers: If you would like volunteers to help complete the count at your site, please let us know how many volunteers you will need and on what days/ times. In the past, volunteers have been particularly helpful at meal programs and drop-in centers.
- Trainings: We’ll be scheduling optional trainings in mid-January to provide information to your staff and volunteers. Stay tuned for more information.
- Packets: Each participating organization will receive a packet of instructions, survey forms, and other helpful materials in mid-January.
How can my organization prepare to participate?
Here are some steps you can take now and over the next few weeks to prepare for the count:
- Register to participate: Contact Carrie Young at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your organization’s willingness to participate in the count. Provide contact information (name, e-mail, phone number, mailing address) for the person(s) who will coordinate the count at your organization. We will send information updates and a packet of survey forms and instructions to those contacts.
- Request volunteers: If you will need volunteers to help you conduct the count, contact Kris Smock at email@example.com with the dates, times, and number of volunteers you will need. In the past, volunteers have been particularly helpful at meal programs and drop-in centers, but we will attempt to recruit volunteers for any organization that asks for them.
- Provide volunteers: Are there staff or volunteers from your organization who would be willing to spend a few hours helping to survey people at meal programs and drop-in centers? Volunteer shifts are available at various locations and times throughout the week of the count. We need to recruit more than 100 volunteers, and we would really appreciate your help. Contact Carrie Young at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Coordinate outreach: If your organization conducts outreach to people sleeping outside, contact Kris Smock at email@example.com to get connected to the coordinated outreach strategy for the count.
- Attend a training: An optional training will be available in January for staff and volunteers who will participate in the count. The same 90-minute training will be offered on three different dates -- you only need to attend one of them. Times and locations will be announced in mid-December. If you have a group of staff or volunteers who need to be trained and would like to schedule an on-site training for your group, contact Kris Smock at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
- Review materials: Review the e-mails we will send you over the upcoming weeks and the packet of materials and instructions that we will send you in mid-January. Work with your staff and volunteers to develop a plan for administering the count in your organization.
- Ask questions: Contact Kris Smock if you have any questions about how to prepare for participating in the count at email@example.com or 503-235-2492.