DATE: October 29, 2019
TO: Board of Supervisors
SUBJECT: SOLICITING VOLUNTEERS FOR THE ANNUAL POINT-IN-TIME COUNT (DISTRICTS: ALL)
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that Continuums of Care (CoC) conduct a bi-annual count of homeless persons who are sheltered or unsheltered on a single night in January. On an annual basis, the Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH), as the local CoC, coordinates the Point-in-Time Count, locally known as WeALLCount. Although communities are not mandated by HUD to conduct a count in 2020, the RTFH plans to continue the practice of conducting an annual count allowing for the collection of more current data and ongoing practice improvements; and promoting a consistent community practice.
The documented number of people experiencing homelessness during the Count are used in both State and federal funding methodologies. In addition, the figures obtained during the Count combined with the interviews that are conducted with those being counted, helps the region to understand the scope and impact of homelessness. This better understanding will help the region identify strategies to address homelessness. The interviews yield information related to the numbers of persons who are chronically homeless, persons with mental health and/or substance use disorders, veterans, youth, persons with HIV/AIDS and survivors of domestic violence.
To ensure an accurate count, we need as many volunteers as possible to canvass the region to interview and count homeless individuals. In the 2019 Point-in-Time Count, there were 1,500 volunteers, of which 446 were County employees. The 2019 Count found 8,102 people experiencing homelessness on the morning of January 25, 2019.
County employees have traditionally come forward in the spirit of volunteerism, whether staffing the polls during elections or in their charitable giving. Their doing so supports the County’s Live Well San Diego vision of a region that is building better health, living safely and thriving. It is our hope that County employees will once again come forward as volunteers on paid County time in this effort to identify the extent of homelessness in the region. The Count will take place from 3:45 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 23, 2020.
VICE-CHAIRMAN COX AND SUPERVISOR FLETCHER
1. Authorize the Chief Administrative Officer to establish a volunteer program to allow County employees to participate in the annual Point-in-Time Count on January 23, 2020, on paid County time.
2. Find that allowing County employees to voluntarily participate in the annual Point-in-Time Count on paid County time serves a public benefit by ensuring the region’s homelessness can be quantified to secure State and federal funds to address the region’s homeless population.
Funding associated with today’s recommendations is included in the Chief Administrative Officer’s Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Adopted Budget. The actual costs will be determined by the classification of employees who choose to volunteer. The funding source is a combination of general purpose revenues and program revenues. There will be no change in net General Fund cost and no additional staff years.
BUSINESS IMPACT STATEMENT
ADVISORY BOARD STATEMENT
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that Continuums of Care (CoC) conduct a biannual count of people experiencing sheltered or unsheltered homelessness on a single night in January. A CoC is a regional or local planning body that coordinates housing and services funding for homeless families and individuals. In San Diego County, the Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH) serves as the local CoC. On an annual basis, RTFH leads a collaboration of community partners and volunteers in conducting the Point-in-Time Count, locally known as WeALLCount. In 2019, the local Point-in-Time Count found 8,102 people experiencing sheltered or unsheltered homelessness the morning of January 25, 2019 in the San Diego region. Although 2020 is not a mandated year for communities to conduct a Count, many traditionally complete it at the end of January on an annual basis. Completing the Count on an annual basis locally allows for the collection of the most current data, promotes ongoing process improvements; and promotes a consistent community practice.
The documented number of people experiencing homelessness during the Count is used in both State and federal funding methodologies. In the 2019 Point-in-Time Count, the traditional approach was enhanced to conduct an “engaged count”, with a specific effort to interview the majority of those people identified as homeless. Those who are unwilling or unable to be interviewed are still included in the overall count however, this intensive effort to engage people during the count, allows the region to understand the scope, impact, and potential solutions to address homelessness. The interviews yield information related to the numbers of persons who are chronically homeless, persons with mental health and/or substance use disorders, veterans, youth, persons with HIV/AIDS and survivors of domestic violence.
The RTFH significantly reduced the number of questions on the interview to streamline the process since the change to a more “engaged count” significantly increased the number of interviews conducted.
The 2020 Count will take place from 3:45 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 23, 2020. Volunteers will deploy across the region in teams of two and three, and census tract maps will be used to record the number of people experiencing homelessness. During the upcoming Count, a mobile application will be used to allow observation and interview data to be uploaded directly into the RTFH system.
In addition to counting and interviewing those who are unsheltered, the RTFH will compile a count of people who are staying in shelters on the night of January 23, 2020. Demographic data regarding those sheltered is derived from the region’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), which is administered by RTFH. In 2019, 45% of the 8,102 people identified as homeless, were sheltered the night of the Count.
Each Count requires a significant volunteer workforce to accurately gauge the homeless population across the region. Last year, 1,500 volunteers participated in the Point-in-Time Count, which included 446 County employees.
County employees have always come forward in the spirit of volunteerism, whether manning the polls during the elections or in their charitable giving. It is our hope that County employees will once again come forward as volunteers on paid County time in this effort to identify the extent of this critical issue.
LINKAGE TO THE COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO STRATEGIC PLAN
Today’s proposed actions support Building Better Health, Living Safely and Sustainable Environments/Thriving Initiatives in the County of San Diego’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan, as well as the County’s Live Well San Diego vision by encouraging County employees to participate in the annual Point-in-Time Count which provides critical data to understand the scope of the homeless issue in San Diego, and identify the challenges that people experiencing homelessness are faced with each day.
GREG COX NATHAN FLETCHER
Vice-Chairman Supervisor, Fourth District
AGENDA ITEM INFORMATION SHEET
REQUIRES FOUR VOTES: ☐ Yes ☒ No
WRITTEN DISCLOSURE PER COUNTY CHARTER SECTION 1000.1 REQUIRED
☐ Yes ☒ No
PREVIOUS RELEVANT BOARD ACTIONS:
BOARD POLICIES APPLICABLE:
BOARD POLICY STATEMENTS:
ORACLE AWARD NUMBER(S) AND CONTRACT AND/OR REQUISITION NUMBER(S):
ORIGINATING DEPARTMENT: Vice-Chairman Greg Cox and Supervisor Nathan Fletcher
OTHER CONCURRENCE(S): N/A