Virginia Beach Seeking Public's Assistance in Identifying Locations Where Individuals are Living Unsheltered

Information Will Be Used to Prepare for Annual Count of Homeless Population on Jan. 23

Monday, December 16, 2019

Virginia Beach, Va. (Dec. 16, 2019) — Virginia Beach Housing and Neighborhood Preservation is asking for the public's help in identifying locations throughout the city where individuals have been observed living without shelter. The information will help guide teams of volunteers during the 2020 Point-in-Time Count. Citizens can submit locations directly on a map from their mobile device or computer at www.publicinput.com/2020PITCount.

Signs that an individual is living unsheltered include personal belongings left behind, a structure resembling a bed is present, individuals have been seen there on multiple occasions, etc. Location points should also include the date observed and additional details that will help describe the situation. The city is asking for visual observations only – please do not engage the individuals. The city has a Homeless Outreach Team whose role is to find, engage and assess the needs of people experiencing street homelessness, and help connect them to available resources.

"Thanks to the community's help last year, we were able to identify a dozen locations that we were unaware of where people were living unsheltered," said Karen Gratton, Homeless Outreach Team lead. "At one site, we found an individual who had been homeless for a year. We were able to connect him to shelter and services at the Housing Resource Center, and now he is moving into his own apartment."

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires cities that receive federal funding for homeless programs to conduct an unduplicated count of the homeless population, known as the Point-in-Time Count. The count helps determine how much funding a community will receive for homeless programs and services, and provides demographic information about a city's homeless population. Each year, more than $1.9 million is granted through the Continuum of Care to Virginia Beach agencies that provide housing and supportive services to the homeless.  ​

"The Point-in-Time Count is important because it provides a snapshot of homelessness in Virginia Beach," said Pam Shine, homeless services system manager. "The more we know about our homeless population, the better we can serve their needs. Each year, we try to ensure that the count is as thorough as possible. With the public's assistance, we can enhance our outreach efforts and help ensure that everyone who should be included is counted and assessed for services."

For assistance with the online tool, contact Ashley Love, at (757) 385-5162 or alove@vbgov.com. For more information about the Point-in-Time Count and providing locations for the Homeless Outreach Team, contact Karen Gratton at (757) 385-5165.

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