Volunteers are encouraged to help assess the local homeless population during this year’s Point in Time Count on Jan. 23.
The Arlington Community Resource Center will also be providing services for homeless individuals during the day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Suds & Duds Laundry Center in Smokey Point at 3131 Smokey Point Dr.
The Point in Time Count is a national survey meant to count homeless populations in all areas of the U.S.
“We need volunteers to help conduct surveys in Arlington, Marysville, Lake Stevens and Smokey Point,” said Nikki Rossiter, volunteer and community engagement coordinator at Housing Hope and the volunteer coordinator for the north Snohomish County region for the count.
The count measures the number of people who were without shelter the previous night and helps indicate how much need for homelessness resources there are in various areas.
“This information is critical in helping our elected officials measure the number and needs of homeless individuals so that they can direct government funding to programs that help address these needs. The more accurate the information we receive, and the more people we can survey, means potentially more financial resources to help public and nonprofit organizations,” said Rossiter.
Volunteer shifts begin with training at Village Community Services in Arlington at 3210 Smokey Point Dr.
“Volunteers will be trained at the beginning of their shift on how to conduct the Point in Time surveys, what to do during the interaction with the individual experiencing homelessness, how to ask for permission to lead them through the survey and how to put their mind at ease about who this information will be given to and why,” said Rossiter.
After the training, they will be sent to various areas with maps showing the known homeless encampments.
Rossiter said that volunteers are asked to take a four-hour shift, either from 8 a.m. to noon, noon to 4 p.m. or 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“At the end of their shift they will come back to the volunteer staging area in Smokey Point to turn in surveys and sign out,” she said.
Volunteers can do an additional shift, although they should come back to sign-in again, she said.
“We ask for cell phone numbers so that we can call people on the day of the count if they did not sign out after their shift. We want to make sure that they are safe,” said Rossiter.
Interested volunteers can sign up at housinghope.org/volunteer-your-time.
Homeless individuals can also come to Suds & Duds Laundry Center to receive services or fill out a survey during the day of the count.
There will be free care packages that include clothing and other items, as well as free laundry service available to homeless individuals.