By Staff Reports
(Victorville) – San Bernardino County’s Point-in-Time Count is scheduled for January 28, 2016, and local agencies have begun strategizing ways to reach and survey the area’s homeless population. The Count seeks to survey a snapshot of people and identify the need for homeless services. It provides data used by HUD and government agencies to making funding decisions.
It is important that the count survey as many homeless as possible in order to provide accurate data. “The problem is, how do you find those who don’t want to be found?” questions Darryl Evey, Executive Director of Family Assistance Program, the agency managing the count for the cities of Hesperia and Victorville. According to Evey, there is a large population of homeless single mothers and children who have yet to be reflected in survey data.
“There is a belief by some homeless that this survey might put them at a risk of ‘being found out,’” stated Caroline Reyna, Program Director at Family Assistance Program. “That isn’t the case at all. General demographic information is compiled and submitted to the County. It will not result in referrals to police departments.”
Evey stated, “Last year the Victorville count identified 127 homeless. Approximately 100 of those were living in the Riverbed. Since the Riverbed has been cleared out, some homeless have been helped. It is assumed that the others are still homeless and have just moved to another area. My fear is that if we can’t find them, or others who are scattered throughout the High Desert, the data will reflect fewer homeless in the area. That can be misinterpreted as the homeless problem being solved in the last year, which isn’t the case.” It can also result in funding being diverted elsewhere.
In order to reach a broad population, a Community Collaboration is forming to reach the area’s homeless. “The idea is that each homeless person is connected to at least one agency. By partnering with those agencies, we can reach the population,” said Evey.
In a meeting held November 9, 2015, eleven agencies met to discuss the approach to this year’s count, and many more are expected to join in the next meeting. Volunteers are needed to assist in the planning, the count, and in identifying locations where homeless can be found.
“It’s a great idea to work with the county and get all our community partners and volunteers involved,” stated Reyna who hopes the data will reflect a broad spectrum of people in need. To get involved, join the next planning meeting Thursday January 28, 2016 at 1:00pm at the Family Assistance Program Family Center located at 15075 7th Street, Victorville, CA 92395
About Family Assistance Program
Family Assistance Program offers a wide range of services to help struggling families. For victims of domestic violence, the agency operates a safe-house, transitional housing program, counseling, support groups, and a variety of supportive services. Similar services are provided for women on probation. For children age 11-17, the agency provides shelter services, counseling, family reunification support and other supportive services. In 2013, the agency added a range of services for victims of human trafficking. As needs in the community are identified, the agency works towards meeting those needs. All services are offered with respect to human dignity utilizing an empowerment model towards helping families by providing the tools they need to build stronger families. Follow us on Facebook at Family Assistance Program and Our House CA