Annual homelessness census delayed until end of February
This year’s annual census of people who are homeless will be taken several weeks later than normal.
Spokane city officials hope the delay will produce a more accurate count.
The Point in Time Count, an annual national census of homeless conducted by local governments, is normally conducted in January, and consists of a count of people staying in shelters and those who are unsheltered. It’s designed to give leaders a snapshot of what homelessness looks like in a community over a single night.
Jenn Cerecedes, director of the city of Spokane’s Community, Housing and Human Services Department, says waiting until the omicron wave dissipates is likely safer for participants. She says warmer weather may also make connecting with unsheltered people easier.
“One of our largest challenges remains the ongoing pandemic environment that we're in, and then managing volunteers through that process,” she said. “We rely heavily on volunteers, and so those challenges can impact the success of a count."
Cerecedes says the data collected is federally mandated, but also informs local decision making.
She says the city still needs about 100 volunteers, and those looking to help can sign up on the city’s website. The count will be held from February 25 to March 1.