In just two months, communities nationwide will begin conducting their annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count and survey. Five hundred volunteers are needed to survey Riverside County to help determine the region’s needs for homeless services and to guide decisions about how to use resources.

The PIT Homeless Count is a one-day, street-based and service-based unduplicated count and subpopulation survey of sheltered and unsheltered individuals to identify how many people in Riverside County are homeless and their subpopulation characteristics on a given day.

The Riverside County Department of Public Social Services will partner with the Riverside County Continuum of Care to survey on Friday, Jan. 26. Volunteers are needed from throughout the county to help organize and implement the count in their communities.

The count is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The county’s count will be divided into two areas: a street-based survey from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m., and a service-based survey from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This count is primarily for cities, however, the county Department of Mental Health has an outreach team, which does survey unincorporated areas, including the Hill, according to Donyielle Holley, Riverside County Point-in-Time coordinator.

Last year, 533 volunteers were deployed across the region to successfully count and survey the unsheltered homeless population. Volunteer recruitment is encouraged among neighborhood and nonprofit organizations, college students, faith-based institutions, community service clubs and social service providers. Important data will be collected on the general homeless population and subpopulations of homeless veterans, families, youth and chronically homeless individuals.

HUD, the largest source of homeless program funding, requires that continuum-of-care communities that receive HUD CoC funding (such as Riverside County) perform a “one-day, point-in-time” unduplicated count and subpopulation survey of sheltered (every year) and unsheltered (every other year) homeless individuals during the last week of January.

The 2015 count identified 1,587 unsheltered and 883 sheltered homeless people in Riverside County. Unsheltered homeless people include those living in places unfit for human habitation, such as on the street or in a park.

Organizations or individuals may register online to participate at www.RiversideHomelessCounts.com.

Questions may be directed to Holley at [email protected]