HONESDALE – The Wayne County Housing Department fields a team of volunteers in late February for the annual Point in Time (PIT) homeless count.
For several years, the county hit the pavement with volunteers to provide outreach efforts for those experiencing homelessness, although it was suspended in 2021. On the night of the count, volunteers disperse throughout the county to provide care packages containing toiletries and other necessities, including information about where to get help, if they want it. The teams also collect some basic information the county needs to provide to funders when seeking homeless assistance dollars.
Each year, volunteers meet for a brief orientation and training session, which will be virtual this year to limit the amount of time spent indoors.
Many of the individuals and families encountered during the annual count are already known to authorities, but there are often new faces and new opportunities to help and re-engage people.
Since January 2020, Wayne County secured nearly 5.7 million dollars in Federal Housing & Urban Development (HUD) funding. In that time, approximately 500 individuals experiencing homelessness received assistance from these programs, including families with children.
To assist with homelessness, Wayne County Human Services can now offer an emergency use apartment, transitional housing for youth, general transitional housing (along with money to get out), rapid rehousing to end homelessness, homeless prevention dollars, family unification programming, and behavioral health-specific units.
Thanks to the grants and other efforts, the county now has many more resources available, but officials still need to complete the PIT Count as one of the requirements to continue this much-needed assistance.
Most homeless programming in the county must be accessed via a Coordinated Entry System. The person in housing crisis should call 211, Monday through Friday from 9 AM – 2 PM, to be prioritized for the programming most appropriate for their level of care. A live person can be reached 24/7, but the full assessment process is limited to those hours.