Montgomery County to Hold Point-in-Time Count to Measure Street Homelessness
The Montgomery County Office of Housing and Community Development in collaboration with Your Way Home will conduct the Annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count on Tuesday, January 25, 2022. Volunteers are needed to assist in this effort to accurately count all people experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County.
“When Pennsylvanians lack access to safe, stable housing, it impacts every aspect of their life, from their health and whether they can manage chronic illness, to their ability to hold a job and live with dignity,” said Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “We have a responsibility to all those who are unhoused or struggling with homelessness to provide opportunities for stability in housing and their economic future. Critical to that work is understanding the scope of this problem, which is why conducting this annual point-in-time count is so important, especially as we know this year has been especially challenging for families, from Hurricane Ida to rising rent.”
Hundreds of families remain displaced due to the remnants of Hurricane Ida after seeing their homes destroyed or condemned due to damage. The County is also tracking high rent prices in excess of established local fair market rents which have made it almost impossible for displaced residents to find an apartment of equal value. For instance, Riverside Apartments in Norristown was condemned due to flooding damage from Ida, wiping out 124 affordable units for area residents.
“Local municipalities need to understand their role in providing housing opportunities for all their residents, including—and especially—for people working in lower-paying sectors, such as hospitality or the service industry,” said Kenneth E. Lawrence, Jr., Vice Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “Stable, secure housing is critical to combatting negative social determinants of health while also supporting households across the income spectrum in achieving greater economic mobility.”
Montgomery County’s PIT count was last completed in person in January 2020 and will return for an in person count in 2022 with COVID-19 safety protocols in place including mandatory masks and social distancing measures. Volunteers will assist outreach teams with canvassing pre-determined locations across Montgomery County for homeless individuals and families. Volunteers must be 18 or older and be willing to participate during the hours of 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on January 25 and must also attend a mandatory training session. To sign up to volunteer, click here.
The PIT count is a count of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January required by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD requires that Continuums of Care conduct an annual count of people experiencing homelessness who are sheltered in emergency shelter, transitional housing, and Safe Havens on a single night.
PIT counts are important to understand the extent and nature of homelessness in Montgomery County each year and establish the dimensions of the problem of homelessness locally. These counts have their limitations and may not be successful in capturing every single person experiencing homelessness on one night. However, the snapshot is the most reliable estimate of people experiencing homelessness, and this information helps to inform policymakers, funders, and local communities track progress toward the goal of ending homelessness.
Montgomery County will release preliminary data on the count in March. Officials will then release final totals to HUD in April.