Brian Walker, Communications Manager, 509.655.1387
Friday, January 21, 2022 at 12:49 p.m.
The 2022 Point-in-Time Count that provides an annual snapshot estimate of the homeless population in Spokane County has been rescheduled to next month due to the current spike in COVID-19 cases.
The count was originally scheduled for Jan. 27-Feb. 1. The sheltered count is now set for Feb. 24, followed by the unsheltered count Feb. 25-March 1.
“This change is based on strong recommendations from the Spokane Regional Health District and partner organizations in the community that have expressed concerns about public health and staff safety related to the expected peak of the Omicron variant over the next few weeks,” said Eric Finch, Director of the Neighborhoods, Housing and Human Services Division for the City, which is conducting the count.
The Spokane Homeless Connect has also been rescheduled to March 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Spokane Convention Center, 202 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. The associated, community-led outreach event provides services to the homeless, serves as a central point for the count, and is co-sponsored by the City.
As a recipient of federal and state funds through the Continuum of Care that support homeless services, communities are required by HUD to conduct an annual count. Surveys are conducted by government agency staffs and community volunteers.
“This data is crucial to building and enhancing our regional system of resources to best meet the needs of our most vulnerable,” said Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward. “We rely on partnerships with other governmental entities and community organizations to make sure everybody is counted so that our community receives federal funds to help those most in need.”
The count is among several data points the City relies on to develop and refine strategies to move people into permanent housing. Although the survey is a countywide homeless count, it provides the City with valuable information about who is living in homelessness and barriers and information that can impact the design of new programs.
“Collecting data from the count underscores the key role our volunteers play in this vital resource that provides a hand up to our homeless population on their road to recovery and hope,” said City Point-in-Time Count Coordinator Amira Djulovic.
The City works with several partners on the count, including the regional Continuum of Care, shelters, other nonprofits and jurisdictions, community members and Eastern Washington University professors and graduate students.
"This is a rare opportunity for students and myself to gain invaluable professional experience,” said Matt Anderson, EWU’s Urban and Planning Associate Professor. "The opportunity integrates service, community engagement and research into the same activity which is a great, hands-on learning experience.”
A total of 1,559 people were counted in 2020, the last year a full count was completed. A sheltered-only count was completed last year due to the pandemic. More data from previous counts are posted on the City’s website.