The Pierce County Department of Community Connections and Tacoma-Pierce County Coalition to End Homelessness seek volunteers to gather census data of the homeless population and those on the verge of becoming homeless in Pierce County.
The annual survey – which is in its 18th year – is scheduled for Jan. 22-23. More than 100 volunteers are needed countywide to survey individuals and families at meal sites, day shelters, health clinics, and on the streets. The Homeless Network is also accepting donations of personal items that will be distributed over the two day period.
“Experiencing homelessness is especially hard during the cold winter, and the month of January is often the most unforgiving. This survey will inform and strengthen our coordinated community efforts to find new and better ways to end homelessness," said Keith Galbraith, chair of the coalition. "It's also a great time to meet the practical cold-weather needs of those who require physical as well as emotional warmth expressed through the personal contact with members of our community who care."
Volunteers are required to attend one of three scheduled trainings prior to participation. At the training, representatives from the Homeless Network will explain the reasons for the survey, discuss the process by which data is collected, and provide safety information. Workshops will be held at the following locations:
Wednesday, Jan. 14, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Sound View Building
3602 Pacific Ave, Conf Room 1
Tacoma, WA 98418
Friday, Jan. 16, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
MDC Learning Center
721 S Fawcett Ave, Suite 204
Tacoma, WA 98405
Wednesday, Jan. 14, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Gig Harbor Boys & Girls Club
8502 Shansie Ave
Gig Harbor, WA 98332
"Please support this great community wide effort by volunteering and donating some of the needed items listed. Your help will really make a difference,” Galbraith said.
The data collected provides a picture of the homeless issues in Pierce County, drives planning efforts, and leverages public and private funding for homeless housing and services. Last year, volunteers helped collect data from over 1,034 homeless individuals in our county. They identified 838 single, unattached individuals. The survey counted 196 families with 386 children age 18 and under as homeless during the 24 hour census period.
To volunteer or for more information about the 2015 survey, contact Valerie Pettit at Pierce County Community Connections (253-798-7658).
Donations of personal items such as clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, jackets, socks, gloves, hats, scarves, duffle bags, non-perishable food, bottled water, can openers, flashlights/batteries, towels, and toiletries can be delivered to Pierce County Community Connections Soundview Building at 3602 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98418 or MDC Learning Center at 721 S. Fawcett St, Suite 204 in Tacoma, WA 98405 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Valerie Pettit, Community Connections