KAILUA-KONA — Every January, service providers head out to the beaches and the bush to search for Hawaii Island’s most elusive population — its homeless.
HOPE Services Hawaii will captain the effort, as it does every year, but can’t complete the task with its personnel alone. So, as it also does every year, HOPE is asking for community volunteers.
The Point-In-Time Count, as it’s known, is a sort of informal census during which service providers and volunteers ask people in cars, on beaches, in parks, behind department stores and frequenting known homeless camp sites if they had a home to sleep in on a given night in January.
A snapshot of a moment in time, the self-reported PIT Count is used along with the state’s Homeless Management Information System and other tracking metrics to measure how many homeless are living on the state’s streets, what demographics comprise the population and how better to help tackle the logistical nightmare of homelessness and fix one of Hawaii’s worst social woes.
The count will run from Wednesday through Jan. 28. Those who wish to volunteer must complete a training course before they head into the field to conduct the count. Some training sessions have already been completed, although there will be another group training opportunity in Waimea at the office of Kohala Councilman Tim Richards on Monday at 11:30 a.m.
Brandee Menino, CEO at HOPE, said one-on-one training is available upon request by calling Joycelyn Cabal at (808) 217-2830 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants will convene and depart from various launching points depending on the day, though all count days will begin at 5:30 a.m. Volunteers may be a part of the count team for as many days as they choose.