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Missouri's Point-in-Time Homeless Count Goes Digital

Volunteers assist with the Point-in-Time homeless count each year. (Pixabay)
Volunteers assist with the Point-in-Time homeless count each year. (Pixabay)
January 24, 2018

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In past years, volunteers would brave the winter streets with paper surveys to identify the number of people experiencing homelessness for the annual Point-in-Time homeless count.

This year, volunteers will be using their mobile devices for a more accurate count.

On Wednesday, volunteers will hit the streets in communities across Missouri searching for individuals, families, children and youth who are experiencing homelessness.

Jackson County is one of 12 communities across the nation that will have an automated count, conducted on mobile devices.

Evie Craig runs reStart, a group with a mission to end homelessness. She says paper surveys aren't foolproof.

"It's called Conditional Logic, or what some of us may end up passive-identify as idiot proof,” she explains. “We're trying to get away from labels.

“Everything on the screen pops up to let you know if you're not done and takes you back to what information you left out."

Craig says knowing the number and nature of persons who are homeless can help communities better understand the scope of the problem.

Craig adds the goal is to see the number of people who are homeless decrease each year.

"We really need to ensure that we have a sufficient outreach so that no individual is unsheltered,” she states. “We want those numbers to get smaller and smaller every year, and they have been going down in Jackson County."

The one-day count is done in every community across the country and the information is provided to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and compiled for an annual report to Congress on the state of homelessness in the country.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MO