Twice each year Homeless Connections and members of the Fox Cities Housing Coalition recruit and create teams of volunteers to participate in the Point-In-Time Count. The Point-In-Time Count is a nationwide counting of individuals experiencing homelessness who are either staying in shelters or who are staying in places that are unfit for human habitation, such as in a vehicle, under a bridge, or in a park. Volunteers involved with the count are equipped with the knowledge to assist any unsheltered individuals found in getting connected to local resources and services for food and shelter.
On Wednesday, January 28 around 8:45 p.m., volunteers began arriving at the Housing Partnership Community Room to get checked in for the first shift of the night starting at 9:00 p.m. The first shift ended at 12:00 a.m., and marked the beginning of the second shift, which ran until 3:00 a.m., and the last shift was 3:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. There was plenty of coffee and snacks to keep over 70 volunteers fueled throughout the night.
In addition to the count, the Fox Cities Housing Coalition sponsored the Winter Resource Picnic at Riverview Gardens. The goal of the Resource Picnic is to gather local service agencies in one place so that members of our community in need of these services can get directly connected to them. Representatives from Partnership Community Health Center, Tri County Dental, St. Vincent de Paul, and a number of others – including Homeless Connections – were at Riverview to offer information and support to those who came to learn about their programs and seek their services. Salvation Army even relocated the lunch they usually serve at their downtown site to Riverview. In the weeks leading up to the Resource Picnic, the Fox Cities Housing Coalition coordinated a drive for hats, mittens, and scarves, and collected enough (and then some!) to hand out to all guests. Volunteers were on hand to help hand out the hats, mittens, and scarves, and they also helped direct guests to where all the agencies were located and to where lunch was being served.
Between the Point-In-Time Count and Resource Picnic, it can be a tiring two days! However, it is energizing and motivating to have the support of volunteers and community members who all work together to make sure no one is left out in the cold and everyone is connected to the resources they need.
To volunteer for a future Point-In-Time Count, contact Beth.