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 in January

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

​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 staff during the 2021 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count. Citizens can submit locations directly on a map from their mobile device or computer at  www.publicinput.com/2021VBPITCount through Jan. 17, 2021.

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.

The PIT Count is typically conducted during one day in late January with the help of teams of volunteers. To promote the safety of the community during the pandemic, the city will not seek volunteer support for the 2021 PIT Count. To allow more time for the city's Homeless Outreach Team to complete the street count, the 2021 PIT will be extended and held Jan. 27-31.

"Since launching this tool in 2018, we have been able to identify dozens of locations that we were unaware of where people were living unsheltered," said Pam Shine, homeless service system manager. "Every year, we try to ensure that the count is as thorough as possible, and it may be more challenging to do that without the many volunteers that usually help with our street count. It will be more important than ever to have the public's input so that we can enhance our outreach efforts and help ensure that everyone who should be included is counted and assessed for services."

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. The PIT 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, approximately $2 million is granted through the Continuum of Care to Virginia Beach agencies that provide housing and supportive services to the homeless.

For assistance with the online tool, contact Stacey Leary, at (757) 385-5161 or sleary@vbgov.com. For more information about providing locations for the Homeless Outreach Team, contact Crystal Rivera at (757) 385-5165.

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