On Thursday, January 26th, the Concho Valley Homeless Planning Coalition conducted its 2023 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count. The PIT Count is an event where communities across the nation go out and take a census of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals in their community. The Concho Valley Homeless Planning Coalition is an independent group of area agencies designed to specifically target the housing crisis in our city. The PIT Count serves as a baseline for state and federal support for addressing the needs of the homeless community.
“Last year, our PIT Count showed 107 sheltered and unsheltered homeless neighbors in our area. Unfortunately, we know that number is not accurate since we have 189 homeless households on the Rapid Rehousing waitlist shared by CVCAA and the Housing Authority,” said Mike Burnett, Executive Director of Concho Valley Community Action Agency and Concho Valley Homeless Planning Coalition Chair.
On Thursday, January 26th, 40 volunteers on three different shifts dispersed in teams to various homeless hot spots and meal locations, such as along the Concho River and at Neighbor’s Cafe. We had volunteers all throughout the day starting at 7:30 am to 8 pm. Volunteers had assistance goodie bags to hand out to participating neighbors filled with water bottles, snacks, gloves, and more.
“Since the last PIT Count in 2022, CVCAA and so many other local agencies have really banded together to reach out to our most vulnerable neighbors and meet them where they’re at. I believe all our efforts really contributed to the huge success of this year’s PIT Count,” said Sidney Timmer, Outreach and Marketing Director at Concho Valley Community Action Agency.
In the past year, CVCAA, West Texas Counseling & Guidance, West Side Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, and other organizations have begun a weekly outreach lunch to a homeless camp here in the city to begin building relationships and getting them started on the path towards self-sufficiency. Since then, the group has created a monthly Navigation Day, where local agencies take the entire day to provide direct services to homeless neighbors in one central location, such as help acquiring their IDs and documents, applying for state benefits, and receiving medical care from the La Esperanza Mobile Clinic.
This past month, the Navigation Day is on the same day as the PIT Count, Thursday, January 26th. Navigation Day broke a record by having 82 homeless households serviced in one day! While we are waiting on final numbers, we know we passed last year’s PIT Count number, not because there are significantly more homeless today than a year ago, but because of the diligent hard work of our staff and our community partners.