Housing Forward, a nonprofit organization focused on solving homelessness in Dallas and Collin counties is asking for volunteers to help with the annual count of North Texas’ homeless population.
While the annual count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for areas that receive public funding to combat homelessness, it is also a useful tool for advocacy groups and nonprofits to see how well the homeless response system is working. Additionally, the count allows these organizations to have a better understanding of what’s needed from them and how funds could be better used.
Every year the count is conducted in January while the weather is still cold, encouraging people to go to shelters where it’s easier to keep a record. Although counting unsheltered unhoused populations is required by the HUD every two years, Dallas and Collin counties perform both counts evry year the same date.
The latest homeless assessment report released by the HUD on Dec. 19, 2022 shows that while veteran, family and youth homelessness are down, chronic and unsheltered homelessness numbers are up.
According to the report, in Jan. 2022 there were 582,462 people experiencing homelessness in one night across the country. The Dallas Observer reported that in the DFW area the last count found 4,410 homeless people on a single night, 31% of which were unsheltered.
In addition to volunteering for the count happening on Jan. 26, Housing Forward is also looking for donations in the form of care packages so they can distribute them during the count. The care packages should contain gloves, hats, masks, blankets, hand warmers and toiletries.
If you want to volunteer, you can register on Housing Forward’s site and if you want to make a care package donation, remember the deadline is Jan. 16.