Housing Forward, a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing homelessness in Dallas and Collin counties, is asking for volunteers to help with the annual North Texas homeless count.
Although the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires an annual count for areas receiving public funding to combat homelessness, it is also a useful tool for advocacy groups and nonprofits to see how well the homeless response system is working. In addition, the count allows these organizations to better understand what is required of them and how best to use the funds.
Each year, counting is done in January when the weather is still cold, encouraging people to go to shelters where it is easier to keep records. While HUD requires a vulnerable non-residential count every two years, Dallas and Collin counties conduct both counts on the same day each year.
The latest Homeless Assessment Report released by HUD on December 19, 2022 shows that while the number of homeless veterans, families and youth is declining, the number of chronic and vulnerable homeless people is on the rise.
According to the report, in January 2022, 582,462 people were left homeless overnight across the country. Dallas Observer reported that in the DFW area, the latest count found 4,410 homeless people overnight, 31% of whom were homeless.
In addition to volunteering for the January 26 count, Housing Forward is also seeking donations of care packages to distribute during the count. Care packages should include gloves, hats, masks, blankets, hand warmers and toiletries.
If you would like to volunteer, you can register on the Housing Forward website, and if you would like to donate a relief package, remember that the deadline is January 16th.