Social service workers and volunteers will be combing northern Utah streets and transient camps over three days next week to take the annual Point in Time count of the unsheltered homeless.
“We are trying to identify those who truly have nowhere else to go on the coldest day of the year,” said Andi Beadles, Weber Housing Authority executive director.
While the number of homeless people in shelters, such as Lantern House in Ogden, has remained stable over the past four years — about 2,800 statewide — The total of people living on the streets has climbed, even in the dead of winter.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data shows 408 people were found living on the street or in camps in Utah’s Point in Time count in January 2019. That was down slightly from 420 the previous winter, but up sharply over the previous three years. The 2015 street homeless total was 225.
Beadles said workers over the years have been getting better at finding people staying in places not fit for human habitation. The goal of the Point in Time count is to get a feel for the depth of the problem and the needs of the unsheltered homeless population.
Homeless are offered help to find jobs, housing and other needs.
Count organizers in Weber and Davis counties are seeking volunteers to help in this year’s canvass. Volunteers must attend a mandatory training session and fill slots in the canvass schedule.
In Weber County, volunteers are needed on the morning of January 23, 24 and 25, from 4-6 a.m. The training session is from 5-6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, at Weber Human Services, 237 26th St., Ogden.
In Davis County, the count also runs Jan. 23-25, but times for the canvass and the training session are different.
Times available on the canvass days are 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. or 3:30-7 a.m. Volunteers can pick their preferred times.
The training session is 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at Intermountain Layton Hospital, 210 Layton Parkway in Layton.
To sign up for the Davis count, click here. Call Regina Howard at the Utah Department of Workforce Services in Clearfield for more information, 801 776-7873.
The Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors is heading up the volunteer recruiting effort in Davis County, according to a press release.
The Davis volunteers will distribute backpacks, gloves, scarfs, hats and socks during the canvass, the release said.