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Volunteers explain why Point in Time Count is so important for future solutions in Denver metro

A snapshot of homelessness: Point in Time Count begins Monday night in Denver metro
Posted at 9:26 AM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 11:31:15-05

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Monday night marked the start of the 2024 Point in Time (PIT) Count in the Denver metro, which is a federal mandate where volunteers physically count the number of people living on the streets providing a snapshot of the situation on a single night.

The count is used by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to determine it's funding streams for two fiscal years, the Homeless Solutions for Boulder County Systems Manager, Heidi Grove, said.

"It is not a comprehensive count of those experiencing homelessness, and it is on a single night, and that a lot of the metrics can really depend on the weather, the methodology, and the volunteers and those who are conducting the survey," Grove said.

Some of the areas conducting the Point in Time Count, like Denver, Broomfield and Adams County, began to send their teams out on Tuesday.

Jefferson County sent teams out on Monday night. Ashley Anaya was one of the volunteer group leads.

“This is actually my first time [volunteering]," Anaya said. "But I'm really familiar with working with this population, because I work in case management at a community mental health center, and I'm also doing my internship in housing. So I'm familiar with the challenges that this population faces.”

The questions asked during the survey are meant to understand the circumstances surrounding each individual experience with homelessness, Anaya explained.

"These questions are really used and designed to help inform future programming and services and how we're going to address the housing crisis and working with a specific population," Anaya said. "It's meant to get a snapshot of just what one night of homelessness looks like, but it by no means is the final answer on what that exactly looks like.”

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Grove said the data is always an undercount, and Boulder pairs the data from the PIT with trends in real time versus relying on the snapshot.

Grove anticipates the numbers from 2024 to be higher than 2023 as a result of the influx of migrants. However, she only expects that in Denver and not in Boulder, which she said has not seen the same trends with migrants.

"We haven't seen that influx," Grove said. "But we do take it into consideration if we come across somebody that is experiencing homelessness that is from the migrant population or surge out of Denver.”

Grove said the data from the PIT will likely not be finalized until August.

Employees, volunteers to take part in Denver's annual point-in-time count

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