Today, January 23, 2023, the City of Rockford Health & Human Services staff, in partnership with the Northern Illinois Homeless Coalition, Park District Police, Rockford Police Department and Rockford Fire Department will begin the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Annual Point in Time (PIT) Count of the Homeless. The count will take place from 3 p.m. today until 3 p.m. the following day, and will cover both sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals within Boone, Winnebago and DeKalb Counties.

The Point in Time Count is a mandatory requirement set by HUD that must be completed within the last 10 days of January across the country. The data collected from the count is then used to inform local and national policy through the Annual Homeless Assessment Report. This report is used to understand the state of homelessness in the country, and is used to inform policy decisions that can help to address the issue.

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During the count, volunteers will visit drop-in centers, emergency rooms, parks, abandoned buildings and other locations where homeless individuals are known to frequent. They will complete a survey and collect important data to determine the estimated number of people currently experiencing literal homelessness. Along with collecting data, agency volunteers will also work to engage the homeless individuals and begin the process of working with them toward permanent housing options.

It is important to note that the PIT count is just one of the ways in which the government and other organizations measure the state of homelessness in the country. Other methods include counting the number of people in shelters, and tracking the number of people experiencing homelessness over time. However, the PIT count is considered to be the most comprehensive method as it captures both sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals.

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It is important that we as a community come together to understand the state of homelessness in our area, and to work towards finding solutions to this issue. The data collected from the PIT count will help to inform the decisions that are made to address homelessness, and will help to ensure that resources are directed to where they are needed the most.

For more information on the Point in Time Count, please contact Angie Walker, City of Rockford Homeless Program Coordinator, at 779-348-7567 or by email at angie.walker@rockfordil.gov. You can also visit the Northern Illinois Homeless Coalition website at www.rockriverhomelesscoalition.com or Facebook/NorthernIllinoisHomelessCoalition.

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