McHenry County’s Annual Homeless Count: “It’s a Collaborative Effort”

Barbara Szul

McHenry County will count its homeless population from late afternoon Friday into the evening.

The Point-in-Time Count, a HUD requirement to receive federal funding, will be conducted by volunteers from the McHenry County Continuum of Care to End Homelessness. The CoC is a consortium of about 40 local nonprofits that provide housing and other services to individuals and families as they move from homelessness to stable housing.

The count, an annual event, will survey people living in homeless shelters operated by Home of the Sparrow, Pioneer Center for Human Services, Thresholds, Turning Point and Veterans Path to Hope (formerly TLS Veterans). It also will send teams to homeless encampments, libraries, hospitals, and other settings to find and count individuals living unsheltered.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2GbpB3_0eFXKhK000
Screenshot from McHenry County Continuum of Care's new website.Courtesy of McHenry County's Continuum of Care to End Homlessness

“We cover all the corners of the county and in between,” said Sam Tenuto, co-CEO of Pioneer Center, the lead agency for the count. “During the street count, we focus on safety first—safety for those surveyed and also for the staff.

“When we talk to a person, we ask demographics related to them,” Tenuto said when explaining methodologies of the count. “We do our best to inform them about resources that will help them.”

McHenry County’s Point-in-Time Count will be one of more than 400 counts undertaken by CoCs throughout the country this winter. The data to be collected will:

· Produce a local snapshot of what homelessness looks like on any given day.

· Help the local CoCs to coordinate services for the homeless.

· Measure progress toward preventing homelessness.

· Be used to understand trends among the homeless population and then adjust programs.

New for the local 2022 count: Point-in-Time volunteers will be in place for a portion of the Community Empower Shower, a program that is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every first and third Friday of the month at Willow Creek Crystal Lake, a church at 100 S. Main St.

Empower Shower launched in June. It provides people experiencing homelessness with access to showers, food, rental assistance, a laundry facility, among other services.

Contact Julie Davis at jadavis@willowcreek.org to learn more.

As for the McHenry County Point-in-Time Count, it contributes to a national picture and helps advance knowledge of homelessness.

“It’s a collaborative effort,” Tenuto said. “We couldn’t do it without all the agencies that are involved in the CoC.”

For more on the McHenry County CoC and its mission to end homelessness, visit www.mchenrycountyhomless.org.

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This nonprofit highlight was presented by Not-for-Profit Resources, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping build awareness of local nonprofit organizations’ needs and providing resources to help them grow stronger. To learn more, visit www.nfpresources.org.

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