Yesterday, all across the country volunteers conducted a Point-In-Time count. The Point-In-Time count is conducted twice a year to capture a snapshot of what homelessness looks like in each state, city, and neighborhood. The data collected through the Point-in-Time process is reported in the Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR) that is provided to the U.S. Congress. Homeless information is also reported to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, which is then utilized to develop the Housing Inventory Chart for the Balance of State Continuum of Care. This information is also important to organizations such as Day By Day as it allows us to get an idea of where our very own community is at in terms of the homeless population.
In Oshkosh, teams are broken up into different time frames and sections of the city. The count includes individuals that are homeless and are living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, safe havens for the homeless, domestic violence shelters, or who are unsheltered living on the streets or any other place not meant for human habitation. After the sheltered population is documented, the teams in Oshkosh search the city for the individuals that are living on the streets. Once a person or family living in a place not meant for human habitation is identified, the team conducts a short questionnaire or observation and then offers the person a warm breakfast at our Community Resource Fair the following morning. The Community Resource Fair not only provides a hot breakfast, but also a wide variety of community agencies that can provide information on their services, as well as free haircuts to those who want them!
Serving the homeless population here in Oshkosh, we were thankful to be a part of this national movement that will help us to reduce the number of homeless individuals in our great state of Wisconsin.