Volunteers Needed for San Diego’s Homeless Census Count

by on December 12, 2013 · 5 comments

in Activism, Economy, Government, Health

weallcount-300x167By Doug Porter

The Regional Task Force on the Homeless is seeking over one thousand volunteers to assist in counting  homeless individuals in San Diego on January 24, 2014.

The Point In Time Count (PITC) is an annual census effort encompassing both sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals. Data about locations and demographics is collected, enabling agencies in the San Diego region to better understand the scope, impact and potential solutions to homelessness.

The PITC is also crucial in that it supplies information essential to applications for funding to address homeless issues. Based on San Diego’s 2013 census, approximately 8,900 individuals, families and unaccompanied children experience homelessness annually in San Diego County.

Communities across the country will be conducting similar events during the last ten days of January 2014. The PITC is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and sponsored by U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and County of San Diego.

The Regional Task Force on the Homeless is seeking volunteers for the following:

  •  Jan. 24 from 4:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m. – Enumerators to count unsheltered homeless persons in San Diego County
  •  Jan. 24-27 availability times are flexible – Surveyors to conduct interviews with homeless individuals in San Diego County

All training will be provided by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. Anyone interested in volunteering can register at CountSD.org, contact countsd@rtfhsd.org or call 858-292-7627 ext. 14.

“Eliminating homelessness in our community requires a complex understanding of our homeless population and factors that led to them being where they are,” said Dolores Diaz, Regional Task Force on the Homeless Executive Director. “We are committed to accurately counting the homeless in our region, which requires the help of many generous local volunteers.”

 Editor: Meanwhile, homelessness and hunger are on the rise in U.S. cities, say nation’s mayors.

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Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013 and 2014. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park. NEW: Ello contact @dougbob
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avatar John Kitchin December 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Last year the count was off by 50%, leading to huge cash problems this year. The Lincoln Club successfully caused homeless to hide on count day. I write more in the Dec. 1 edition of the San Diego Homeless News at http://www.NZ9F.com/SDHN. John Kitchin, Publisher.

avatar WH December 13, 2013 at 3:16 pm

John, can you please explain further? I am intrigued but I am having trouble finding the Dec. 1st edition of SDHN. I was thinking of volunteering for this but after looking at the funding sources and the partner organizations, I have doubts. I am through wasting time and money on band-aids, and I am concerned that this is just another charity organization which provides a relief valve to compassionate and concerned citizens, in order to divert people away from fundamental, lasting, socio-political solutions. It raises a red flag for me that a federally mandated census is relying on a non-profit organization enlisting volunteers. Why is there no funding? How can you make something mandatory without providing adequate funding? I’m not necessarily saying it’s wrong, but it just seems weird. I’m wondering – is this the information-collection equivalent to food drives, which only soften the effects of a cruel and broken political/economic system, and do absolutely nothing to address the root cause? I have doubts about RTFH’s ability to accurately assess the number of homeless in the city, and I am curious as to how they intend to share this information and what kinds of solutions they have in mind. Are we collecting info on homeless people so we can provide it to the SDPD’s “Homeless Outreach Team”? (I’ve never seen this team at work but if I were homeless I don’t think I’d want them reaching out to me).

avatar WH December 13, 2013 at 3:21 pm

PS: John, are you saying that the actual number is closer to 18,000 homeless?

avatar John Kitchin December 14, 2013 at 8:01 pm

If the top-secret camps were audited, and the women in sex-housing were identified, and there was absolutely no privacy, I could definitely prove 100,000 homeless at this time. Dr. John Kitchin

avatar Lorraine December 24, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Taking the census verifies what is generally accepted regarding the estimated numbers of San Diego’s homeless population, but what happens next? Does San Diego have a recognized “leader” or group with a plan of action after the census is taken?

Rachel Maddow, last night, reported that Phoenix, AZ has housed all homeless veterans within a targeted time period in that city:

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show

Phoenix mayor, Greg Stanton, (D), described how his local and federal government agencies, business and civil groups united to address finding homes for the veterans and how they expect to continue to assist them using specific aid programs. Similar programs are being implemented in Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Washington, DC.

Helping San Diego’s homeless veterans is a start to helping the homeless population in general and perhaps contacting the Phoenix mayor’s office for guidelines and a plan of action would be a consideration. Could recognized leadership from among San Diego’s vast military retiree population be recruited? In a military/”company” town, a local government not actively seeking solutions to help homeless vets is shameful.

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