COUNTING THE HOMELESS POPULATION IN HOUSTON!

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Houston, Texas (January 16, 2013) Staff and volunteers from The Coalition for the Homeless of Houston and Harris County will conduct its annual Homeless Count as the administrator for the newly organized Continuum of Care on January 22 and 29 from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. The Homeless Count is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the local Continuum of Care funding process, which brought more than $23 million in FY2011 to homeless assistance programs in Houston, Harris and Fort Bend Counties.  Later this month more than 500 trained volunteers will depart from 10 staging points across the greater Houston area to count individuals, veterans, families and young people that live on the streets. A homeless service provider or former homeless person will anchor each team. Youth Count!, a pilot program in 10 American cities including Houston, will focus on counting homeless teens. To volunteer for the 2013 Homeless Count, please contact Gary Grier at ggrier@homelesshouston.org or call 832-531-6006.

“The key to solving homelessness is understanding who is homeless,” said Marilyn L. Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition. “The Homeless Count 2013 will provide the Coalition with information to develop a needs assessment for the community. From the 2012 count we learned that one of the major triggers for homelessness was the loss of a job. Armed with hard data area service providers can continue to work together to develop assistance programs tailored to our community.”

The Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County was established in 1982, incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in 1988, and has evolved to be the lead agency coordinating the community response to homelessness in Houston. Under the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, passed in 2009, an entire community rather than individual service providers must demonstrate success in preventing and reducing homelessness. In 2011, HUD named Houston as a priority community. This designation recognizes the great need to transform Houston’s existing homeless service system and the tremendous opportunity to make significant advances due to the commitment of homeless service providers and key community stakeholders, including both private and public contributors. For more information about the Coalition’s efforts, visit www.homelesshouston.org.

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