In 2013, the Kern County Homeless Collaborative (KCHC) began carring out a Full Point-in-Time Count (or Homeless Census) of Sheltered and Unsheltered Homeless Persons throughout Kern County every year, as opposed to every other year.
This is an important activity that takes place over a 24-hour period during the last 10 days of the month of January.
The Homeless Census is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which funds housing and supportive service projects for the homeless in our community in the amount of $3 million to $5 million each year. The data collected in the Homeless Census gets submitted to HUD, which in turn compiles an Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress to ensure that funding for homeless programs continues from year to year.
KCHC Homeless Census Reports
Click on any of the below links to see the results of a past Point-in-Time Homeless Count:
- 2013 KC Point-In-Time Homeless Census Narrative
By comparing these reports, one can see that the Kern County Homeless Collaborative's efforts to reduce homelessness locally ARE working, as the overall number of homeless counted from report to report gets smaller.
Will you help us count Kern County's homeless?
Each year in late January, the Kern County Homeless Collaborative needs the help of at least 150 volunteers who are 18 years of age or older for the following:
A) To help count the homeless who will be staying in shelters overnight (Sheltered Homeless Count); and especially
B) To go out in teams of 3 or 4 persons throughout Kern County one day to count homeless who are sleeping outdoors--in parks, alleys, by the river, under bridges, etc.--or in places not meant for human habitation--cars, abandoned buildings, garages or other structures without electricity or running water--(Unsheltered Homeless Count).
The first step to doing this work is to get a strong pool of eager volunteers. Those who have helped with the Homeless Census in the past are especially welcome because of their experience, and Executive Directors and Supervisors of member agencies of the Homeless Collaborative are requested to free up some of their staff to assist in this effort. But we also greatly encourage and welcome the participation of new volunteers from the community.
The Homeless Census is an AMAZING educational opportunity for all involved, and helps us to spot new local trends in homelessness--for example, among vulnerable populations such as families with children, unaccompanied youths, and veterans, or in the challenges that face the homeless, such as drug use or mental/physical health issues.
If you would like to partner with the KCHC in this effort, and have not yet filled out a volunteer profile online, we ask that you do the following:
- Click on this link.
- Fill out our online Volunteer Application form. As you do this, pay special attention to the following:
- In Section 1 of the Volunteer Application, make sure to give us an e-mail address, and a minimum of two phone numbers, preferably cell and home, or cell and work. If you can provide all three, cell, work and home numbers, even better.
- In Section 2, make sure to provide your birthdate and information about your special skills, including fluency in other languages, especially Spanish and American Sign Language.
- In Section 3, please be sure to check ONLY the Homeless Census box under Special Events. Please list any physical limitations of which we should be aware.
- In Section 4, be sure to list an emergency contact.
- Finally, type the two code words requested at the bottom, and click submit. An acknowledgment e-mail will be sent to the e-mail address you have provided, and you will be contacted by phone or e-mail by the Census Committee in the weeks that follow. The Census Committee meets monthly, and we welcome volunteers to attend. Click here to go to our KCHC Calendar.
EVERYONE who volunteers on the Homeless Census effort is required to complete an online Volunteer Application form on the Homeless Collaborative website.
Volunteering commitments include:
- Receiving an approximately two-to-three-hour training sometime in early January on how to survey homeless persons.
- Assisting with the count of the homeless in late January (We make every effort to keep volunteers in their city/area of residence, but some may be requested to assist in other areas where more volunteers, or special skill sets such as English-Spanish bilingual fluency, are needed).
- Depending on your availability, experience and eagerness, being the driver or team leader for your Unsheltered Homeless Census Team (Sorry, but we cannot reimburse gasoline costs).
Thank you for helping the Kern County Homeless Collaborative in the fulfilment of its mission: To put an end to homelessness in Kern County through collaborative planning and action.