Homeless Count scheduled Jan. 30 in Putnam County

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Wabash Valley Planning Council on Homelessness for Region 7 is organizing a Point in Time count in Putnam County on Jan. 30, asking people where they spent the night on Jan. 29.

The Wabash Valley Planning Council, an arm of Housing and Urban Development, has been working to end homelessness in the area for many years. Region 7 includes not only Putnam but also Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties.

Ann Newton, a local social worker, and Kathy Kirkpatrick, both members of Beyond Homeless Inc., are designated to conduct the count in Putnam County along with as many volunteers as possible.

Training and information for the HUD Point in Time count will be shared with any interested participants from 5-6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8 in the Kiwanis Room of the Putnam County Public Library. Everyone is invited to take part, especially personnel from the food pantries, churches, social services agencies, schools and law enforcement.

Organizers note that there is great concern from veterans as more of them end up on the streets because of after-deployment PTSD, depression or other mental health issues, marital and employment difficulties.

Consequently VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki has announced a goal to end veteran homelessness by the close of 2015 and has created the Homeless Veterans Outreach Initiative. Nationally there were more than 62,000 homeless veterans in January 2012.

Local statistics are unavailable as the Point in Time (PIT) Count was not conducted in Putnam County during 2013.

Local schools, however, have already made a count and have reported 24 homeless or unsheltered students in Cloverdale, 20 in South Putnam, 81 in Greencastle, and 15 in North Putnam.

Those numbers might include families staying in motels, double bunking with other families or "couch surfing," PIT organizers noted.

The PIT count is used to measure effectiveness of programs for the homeless, to identify areas of deficiency in meeting needs of the homeless and to ultimately end homelessness altogether. The count is conducted nationally on Jan. 30 to measure progress toward that end.

Volunteers will administer a questionnaire for homeless individuals designed to capture basic demographic information, which will enable the group to apply for funding for Beyond Homeless Inc.

Not insignificantly, the count coincides with efforts of the board of directors of Beyond Homeless Inc. to reopen the shelter at 309 E. Franklin St., Greencastle, and the hiring of Tanis Monday as its new executive director.

For more information or anyone interested but unable to attend the training session may contact Ann Newton at 653-3856. She will see that such individuals get the necessary materials.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: