COLUMBIA -- The Midlands Area Consortium for the Homeless, led by United Way of the Midlands, will conduct the regional annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count Jan. 23-29.
"Over the past five years, the Point-in-Time Count has shown an overall decrease of 40 percent of individuals experiencing homelessness in the 13-county region and a 35 percent decrease in Richland County,” said Sara Fawcett, president and CEO of United Way of the Midlands. “The annual count is necessary for us to truly understand the gaps in services and housing, so we can continue to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness in our community. With successive counts, we can measure our progress in ending homelessness in our community.”
MACH is still in need of PIT Count coordinators for Bamberg, Calhoun, Chester and Newberry counties, and volunteers are needed to help count in all 13 counties. PIT Count volunteer tasks include:
- Searching for unsheltered homeless within designated locations.
- Surveying individuals experiencing homelessness.
- Providing individuals who have been surveyed with kits to include winter clothing items and toiletries.
In addition, MACH is hosting a Youth PIT Count for those between the ages of 18 to 24 currently experiencing homelessness. Youth are encouraged to complete a survey and receive incentives including backpacks and other items at one of the locations below:
- Joseph H. Neal Wellness Center, 1813 Laurel St., Columbia
- MIRCI Youth Drop-In Center, 1433 Gregg St., Columbia
- Morning Glo Internet Café, 1323 Winyah Dr., Columbia
The PIT Count is an annual count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons in Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland and York counties.
The community can learn more about volunteer opportunities and register to volunteer by visiting volunteer.uway.org/pit-count.