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January 12, 2018

Point In Time Homeless Count (January 2018)

Lakeshore Community Action Program and the Sheboygan Housing Coalition Group are looking for volunteers to assist in conducting the semiannual Point-In-Time Street Count in Sheboygan County regarding our homeless population.

Feeling safe, secure, having food and a roof over your head… The thought of such basic needs for all human beings are especially more critical as winter comes in and we feel the temperatures dropping in Sheboygan County. Have you ever wonder how many people in our community lack a safe place to sleep at night in our area? Most of the time, we may think that homelessness is a problem only affecting metro areas, but the reality might surprise you.

Let’s take a look at some numbers to see the big picture here in our community. Currently, Lakeshore CAP, Inc offers services and collaborates with different homeless providers in four counties: Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Door and Kewaunee. The following data is composed of all four counties but keep in mind that Sheboygan is the biggest service area in all four counties. This data is provided by the state Homeless Management Information System database and it is based in the last report provided (10/1/15-09/30/16).

During 10/1/5-09/30/16 the number of clients experiencing homelessness was: 548. Clients experiencing homelessness for the first time: 85%. Clients returning to homelessness in 2 years: 15%. During the calendar year of 2016; in our Lakeshore area, 1 in 382 residents has experienced homelessness. In Wisconsin 1 in 218 residents experienced homelessness in 2016. During the Point In Time Count in January 2017, there were 5,127 experiencing homelessness in that one night in Wisconsin. During that one night in January 2017, in our Lakeshore area; 78 people experienced homelessness. 

As you can see from this report, we have a significant number of people experiencing homelessness. We see that a good number of people experience homelessness for the first time, and that there is a need for homeless assistance and prevention programs. Homelessness is a complex problem, and circumstances for each individual vary.

Lakeshore CAP, along with other partner agencies, are organizing and conducting the Point In Time Homeless Count in our service area. The Point In Time Count is conducted across the United States on the same night. The purpose of the count is to obtain a snap shot of what homeless looks like in a specific night in each community around the U.S. The information gathered during the count is utilized to justify the need for funds as well as to compile the Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR) that is provided to the U.S. Congress. The data gathered during the count is also reported to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, and is utilized to develop the Housing Inventory Chart for the Balance of State Continuum of Care.

 Lakeshore CAP and the Housing Coalition Group are seeking volunteers for the night of January 24th, 2017; from 11pm into the early morning of the 25th at 2am.  We will be conducting the Point In Time Homeless count and doing outreach to find persons experiencing homelessness on that night. We need about 50 volunteers to cover Sheboygan County (including rural areas). Our task is to look  for homeless persons in places that one might suspect homeless persons may be staying, conduct a brief survey and provide referrals for assistance, and provide a supply bag (with personal hygiene items/food). All volunteers will be meeting at the United Way on 2020 Erie Ave. in Sheboygan on January 24th, 2018 at 10pm where they will receive training on how the count will be conduct and to get paired up with a team. Volunteers can sign up together or as individuals who will be placed with a team.  Volunteers must be over the age of 18 in order to participate in the count. Teams are typically composed of 3-4 people. Each team also needs one volunteer driver to take the team to various locations.

In addition, we are requesting assistance from the community to help us identify locations where suspected homeless people may be staying.   If your business is aware of people that do not have shelter or you are a concerned citizen that might have spotted someone whom you suspect to be homeless, please also contact us.  We can offer assistance and referrals for shelter.  If you are aware of locations in the community (parked car, specific parks, etc.) where people are staying who may need help, please let us know prior to the Count so that we can organize our coalition to find these vulnerable people in our own community and offer them services. 

Two “reach out” events will take place after the night of the count. Our objective is to provide assistance and information to all individuals and families who may need homeless assistance services. A free lunch will be provided at the Rocca Room at Mead Public Library on Thursday January 25th from 11:30am-1:30pm.  In addition, we will be at the Open Door on Friday January 26th from 11:30am -1:30pm .

To become a volunteer or if you know of areas where homeless persons may be staying please contact Ruth Orozco at 920-694-0042 or via email at: ruthe@lakeshorecap.org

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