PDT Staff Writer
The Scioto County Housing Continuum met Wednesday at Portsmouth Inner City Development Corporation to prepare for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s upcoming National Count Day Jan. 22.
HUD requires that communities receiving Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance Grant funding to complete an annual sheltered and biennial unsheltered point-in-time count during the last 10 days of January.
The Scioto County Housing Continuum, formed 10 years ago, is a conglomeration of local organizations and entities who receive funding from CoC.
The organizations/entities consist of Sojourner House, Operation Safety Net, The Area Agency on Aging, Scioto Christian Ministry, The Counseling Center, Portsmouth City Schools, The Haley House and Veterans Services of Scioto and Ross Counties.
Mark Cardosi currently serves as the chairperson for Scioto County Housing Continuum.
HUD defines homeless as persons who are sleeping in places not meant for human habitation, sleeping in emergency shelters or living in transitional housing after having come from the a shelter or place not meant for human habitation.
The count will begin at midnight, Tuesday, Jan. 22. in which volunteers and service providers will travel on foot to undisclosed areas outdoors, to emergency shelters, and transitional living facilities, etc. in order to track the numbers of homeless in the county.
Anna Keibler, a registered nurse that is employed with the Area Agency on Aging’s Passport Program, said tracking out the homeless population is a necessity.
“I think this effort is very important. There are a lot of homeless people in our area, and it is important that we provide services and try to help them,” Keibler said.
According to HUD, the count is conducted through anonymous surveying the county by service providers, volunteers and people on foot.
The Canteen, which is a mobile unit that provides hot soup and sandwiches will be up and roaming around different parts of Scioto County during the survey. The Canteen is provided to the community by the Salvation Army.
R.L. Mohl, a member of Scioto Christian Ministry, said any help given will make a difference for those who are homeless.
“The reason that I think we have this in winter is that it is a critical time. We would all feel badly if we found people frozen to death. So to get out, and see what the needs are. If we can’t get them indoors, at least give them survival equipment, and survival skills, that helps,” Mohl said.
Maureen Cadogan, Executive Director of Operation Safety Net, the local homeless shelter, said the count is vital for those in need within Scioto County.
“The count is necessary for us to get a clear picture of homelessness in this area. An effective count allows HUD to see that we do need more money for the homeless population in our area. So it is important to let our voices be heard, and to let them know that we do matter,” Cadogan said.
Anyone age 16 or older who desires to volunteer for the Jan. 22 count may call Operation Safety Net at 740-353-4085.
Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or email@example.com