Yolo County conducted its first sheltered and unsheltered Point in Time Count since 2019 after a surge of COVID-19 delayed the 2021 count.

The Point in Time (PIT) Count, which allows communities to get critical information on the homeless population, took place on Feb. 23 and saw several county, community-based providers and volunteers spread across the county to complete the count, according to a press release from the county. The count also marked the first time using an online survey tool to help facilitate a smooth process.

First conducted in 2005, the PIT Count is an unduplicated count of persons experiencing homelessness on a single night within the last 10 days of January. This year’s count was delayed until February due to a surge in COVID-19 because of the omicron variant.

Communities collect basic demographic and household information and must identify if a person is chronically homeless, indicating long-time or repeated homelessness and the presence of a disability. Communities then report the numbers to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and in their annual application for McKinney-Vento funds. The federal government uses the information from the PIT count in its Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.

“This year’s Point In Time Count relied on a large number of community volunteers,” said Supervisor Gary Sandy, chair of the countywide Commission to Address Homelessness. “They diligently crisscrossed the county to secure a reliable estimate of the numbers of homeless and unhoused. An accurate county count will enable us to better coordinate our resources, maximize state and federal funding, and strategically address the needs of those who lack housing.”

During the PIT Count, team members were tasked to conduct an in-person, anonymous survey or visual count if the survey was declined. The surveys collected demographic information on the homeless population including race, ethnicity, age, how long they have been in Yolo County, how long they have been unhoused and other key information to help programs understand the needs of the unhoused population.

The County’s Commission to Address Homelessness, which works to support county policy and funding recommendations to address homelessness and housing issues, is composed of elected officials from Woodland, West Sacramento, Davis, Winters and the chair of Yolo County’s Homeless Continuum of Care.

In West Sacramento, several community groups including the West Sacramento Police Department, Yolo County Children’s Alliance, West Sacramento Mercy Coalition, CommuniCare and Downtown Streets Team partnered to ensure as many unhoused residents in the city were reached as possible.

“The team was split into several groups to cover both urban and rural areas of the city,” the press release said. “The team effort also provided a comprehensive opportunity to engage clients and offered a connection to support systems in each community, with a caring person and resource information for their needs.”

HUD requires that local jurisdictions submit a full report by the end of April 2022. Yolo County will complete its report before the deadline. The report will be posted on the county’s website at yolocounty.org.

For more information about the community effort to address homelessness in Yolo County, visit the Yolo County Homeless and Poverty Action Coalition (HPAC).


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