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AZ Officials Seek Volunteers for Annual Homeless Count

Arizona officials are looking for volunteers to help count the number of people who are homeless in a one-night effort coming up Jan. 25. (ArielleJay/morguefile)
Arizona officials are looking for volunteers to help count the number of people who are homeless in a one-night effort coming up Jan. 25. (ArielleJay/morguefile)
January 4, 2016

PHOENIX - Arizona officials are looking for volunteers to help count the number of people who are homeless in all of the state's towns and cities. This year's annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count takes place on Monday night, Jan. 25, and into the following morning.

Anne Scott, human services planner with the Maricopa County Association of Governments, says the annual census is vital to providing services for the homeless.

"It is used to calculate the need for homeless services in our area, so it does impact the funding available and the money coming in," says Scott. "It also helps us tailor our resources to most impact those in need."

Scott adds the count is a good way to get feedback for human services agencies about the effectiveness of current programs and can point out the need for new services. The annual count, sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, takes a nationwide snapshot of homelessness at a single point in time.

Scott says officials are looking both for groups and individuals to help with the Arizona count, and training is required for volunteers to ensure accuracy and safety.

"We always send people out in teams, so no one is counting alone," Scott says. "We pair people up with someone who has been part of the count before so that, even if it's someone's first time, they don't have to worry about not being experienced and not knowing how to approach."

Scott encourages volunteers to sign up as soon as possible. In the Phoenix Valley, information is online at azmag.gov. In the Tucson area, it is tpch.net, and in other areas, contact your county's Human Services Department.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AZ