Around 4:00 a.m., while you were likely still asleep, Vanguard students were out and about volunteering their time with the biannual “point in time” count of the homeless population. Why? Because it is required for continued federal funding for shelters and other related programs. According to the LA Times, the city is applying for $16 million.
Last week, Vanguard students attended several training sessions led by Dr. Ed Clarke, professor of sociology at Vanguard University, to learn about the process and what their specific jobs would be on the morning of the street count. The project is mandated for all communities (but unfunded) by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD.)
While some experts have said that the homeless remain under counted, Dr. Clarke, who has led a multi-count of the homeless population, says the number of homeless in Costa Mesa has remained relatively the same over the past 5 years. His work with the Churches Consortium has resulted in a more accurate understanding of what the needs of the homeless in Orange County, CA truly are. With this information has come the ability to promote positive changes that impact the daily lives of those living on the streets. One of these changes is the addition of a storage facility in Costa Mesa that the homeless can use to check in their few but meaningful belongings. They also have a place to shower and do laundry.
The counts takes place across the country during the last 10 days of January (January 26th for OC.)
For more information, visit Point in Time Orange County.