Alaska's coalition on Housing and Homelessness invites Alaskans to lend a hand in the annual statewide Point in Time (PIT) Homeless Count on Jan. 29. This year, some Alaskan cities, including Anchorage, Kenai, Fairbanks, Juneau and Sitka will host Project Homeless Connect, a program designed to help community members engage with local homeless populations during the PIT operations.
The data collected during the PIT count is important for statewide community planning efforts, including federal funding decisions for homeless programs in Alaska and the assessment of Continuum of Care systems statewide.
Every year the count provides an idea of how many sheltered and unsheltered homeless men and women are observed in an area on a single night. It provides ACHH with valuable identifiers and aids in understanding the "special needs of people who are chronically homeless" as well as who they are and what their needs may be.
According to ACHH:
Counts helps communities understand the special needs of people who are chronically homeless, who experience mental illness and substance abuse, who are veterans, who are persons living with HIV/AIDS, who are victims of domestic violence, or are an unaccompanied child. The most effective PIT Homeless Counts include three components: a street outreach survey; a survey for people staying in an emergency shelter, transitional housing, or permanent supportive housing unit; and a survey taken by homeless liaisons in local schools to help identify the number of homeless students.