Janesville24.9°

Volunteers needed for homeless count

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Gazette staff
July 23, 2011
— People interested in affecting how much federal money Rock County gets to help the homeless can volunteer Wednesday night to help the Homeless Intervention Task Force.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development mandates a point-in-time street count of homeless families and individuals. Volunteers and workers in a 24-hour period collect data about people living in shelters and on the streets.


The results help determine the needs of the homeless and helps communities qualify for money to address homelessness.


The data is used in several reports that impact the amount of money Rock County gets to combat homelessness, according to a news release from the task force.


The task force conducts a count each summer and winter. Volunteers sweep the county, searching in rest areas, parks, 24-hour retail stores, truck stops and other areas.


In addition to counting people, volunteers distribute care packages and information about services. They also act as advocates to teach others about homeless people living in the community.


In February, volunteers counted 50 people living without shelter, according to task force data. That was lower than in 2010, when 130 people were counted as living without shelter.


Here’s what you need to know if you would like to help:


-- Volunteers will meet at 11 p.m. Wednesday at ECHO, 65 S. High St., Janesville. After an orientation, participants will divide into groups and disperse around the county.


Several groups will count in Janesville and Beloit. Depending on the number of volunteers, groups could be sent to Milton, Edgerton, Clinton and other communities.


-- The count will wrap up at about 5 a.m. Thursday.


-- The homeless task force’s wish list for items to distribute includes bottled water, toiletries, blankets, flashlights, batteries, nutrition bars, trail mix, bus tokens and insect repellent.


-- To volunteer or to donate cash or items to the task force, call Marc Perry at (608) 829-8554 by Monday.



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