WARRENSBURG, August 9 – On Wednesday, July 31, local agency employees, as well as volunteers from Johnson County Cares, worked to reach out to unsheltered and “doubled-up” people throughout Johnson County as part of the summer 2013 “point-in-time” homeless count. The results were:
• 57 forms completed
• 79 people total
• 42 individuals: 20 doubled-up (3 under 18 years of age, 6 ages 18-24, 11 over 24), 22 unsheltered (5 ages 18-24, 17 over 24);
• 15 families: 5 doubled-up, 12 people total (4 under 18 years of age, 5 ages 18-24, 3 over 24), 10 unsheltered, 25 people total (7 under 18 years of age, 4 ages 18-24, 14 over 24)
• 3 veterans (2 male, 1 female)
The homeless count – which happened in every county in the state on the same day – is sponsored by the Governor’s Committee to End Homelessness, under the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC). Its purpose is to have as accurate a count as possible of the number of unsheltered individuals and families in our county at one particular point in time, in order to help ensure that the housing needs of each county are clearly known, and so that needed funding can be fairly distributed to local agencies who serve homeless and financially struggling members of local communities.
The official totals that the MHDC presents in its report later this year will differ from these, in part because the agency doesn’t include numbers related to those who are “doubled-up” in its report to HUD (since HUD itself does not include these numbers in its unsheltered count), but also because MHDC may not include some who were (at least technically) sheltered in some way (in a residential health facility, inside a non-abandonded building, at a hotel, etc).
Volunteers and agency staff collected basic and non-personally identifiable information about individuals and families specifically regarding their current status as homeless or unsheltered. Individuals who were “doubled-up” (sleeping on a friend or family member’s couch or floor, for example) were also included in this count. Hygiene kits and snack kits were available at each location.
The locations around Johnson County were:
• Chilhowee: Chilhowee Grocery, corner of Pennsylvania and Walnut
• Holden: Hope Thrift Center, 117 W. 2nd St.
• Kingsville: Community of Christ Church, Oak St.
• Knob Noster: The Olive Branch, 106 W. McPherson
• Leeton: City Hall, 108 W. Summerfield Ave.
• Pittsville: Pittsville Community Kitchen, 372 NW 131 Hwy.
In Warrensburg, agency staff spoke with homeless/doubled-up individuals and families at Missouri Valley Community Action Agency, the Workforce Development Board, and Pathways Community Health; volunteers collected information at The Food Center and Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.
Additionally, 21 volunteers – including staff members from Catholic Charities, West-Central Independent Living Solutions, and Pathways Community Health – searched for homeless and unsheltered people in Warrensburg and several areas around Johnson County on the night of July 31, both on foot and by car.
For more information about the homeless count, contact Suzy Latare at 660-864-1387 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.mo-ich.org/14.html.
Johnson County Cares is a collaboration between local social service agency representatives, churches, students, and concerned individuals to network and leverage resources in service of our neighbors struggling with poverty and homelessness. The group meets on the third Friday of every month at 9 a.m. in the Jack Moore Community Room at the west end of the train depot in downtown Warrensburg, and everyone is welcome. For more information about Johnson County Cares visit www.jococares.org.