Volunteers needed in Salt Lake to help annual homelessness count

Jan 23, 2024, 12:54 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Every year an annual Point in Time count happens across Utah to seek out people experiencing unsheltered homelessness, and state leaders need more help from volunteers this year.

This year’s PIT count starts Thursday. Volunteers will survey the state looking for people to interview, but organizers are short on volunteers — particularly in Salt Lake County.

Every January in the dead of winter, volunteers try to get an accurate count of those experiencing homelessness.

“It’s very easy for us to count those who are in shelters and that will be part of the count this week,” said Wayne Niederhauser, state homelessness coordinator. “But more importantly, we want to capture how many people are unsheltered.”

Data from the PIT count helps state leaders get a better understanding of the homelessness situation in Utah and they can decide how to distribute money for services.

“The governor’s requested that the legislature fund $152 million,” Neiderhauser said. “We need more shelter beds.”

Volunteers are needed Thursday, Friday and Saturday across the state – but mostly in Salt Lake County. Volunteers will receive training and then will be sent out in pairs on an assigned route. They will also provide food, water and blankets to people who may need it on their assigned route.

“It’s really my hope that in the future, we’ll be able to count all our people experiencing homelessness in a shelter rather than living on the street,” Neiderhauser said.

Wednesday morning will be the last chance for volunteers to sign up to participate and take part in a virtual training.

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Volunteers needed in Salt Lake to help annual homelessness count