Rock County volunteers are joining in a nationwide effort to reduce homelessness. "The main reason is to prove need," says Community Action Director of Planning and Development Marc Perry of today's street count of Rock County's homeless. "We're asked twice a year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to conduct a 24 hour "point in time" count of homeless individuals and families in our communities."
Perry says agencies involved in the homeless intervention task force do a 24 hour survey of those people who identify themselves as homeless. "Our goal is not just to sustain people in the place that they are, not just to provide emergency shelter, but to help people towards economic self-reliance," says Perry. "For some people the first step is getting them off the street, but there are other steps involved. Essentially, our goal is to work ourselves out of a job."
Perry says volunteers will deliver care packages to the homeless during the street count, and help them connect with local services. The homeless count starts with preparation of care packages in Janesville at 9:00 PM. Teams take the streets for a physical count at 11:00. "We actually go out to areas where we've heard from homeless individuals and homeless families, where people frequent, and actually try connect with those individuals and get them connected with services," says Perry.