SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Santa Barbara County is gearing up for an important count of the homeless population later this month.
On Wednesday, Jan. 29, Santa Barbara County, along with Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County Continuum of Care (CoC) and Northern Santa Barbara County United Way, will hold the countywide 2020 Homeless Point-In-Time Count.
"The Point-In-Time Count helps us gather really important data and information for our community so that we can better understand the needs and better develop our homeless assistance system, and look at how new federal and state funding is being used, and are we using it as effectively as possible," said Emily Allen, Northern Santa Barbara County United Way Director of Impact Initiatives.
On Thursday, training for volunteers was held at the Santa Maria Veterans Building.
"Today's training was an overview of what the Point-In-Time Count is, how the surveying works, how the volunteers can be safe and engage with people, and how they can be part of this team that goes out, collects important data and brings it back to us," said Allen.
Training in other parts of the county were held within the past few days, including in Santa Barbara last Saturday and in Goleta on Wednesday.
"We usually have between 400 and 500 volunteers going out an surveying, but it's important that in every community we have enough volunteers to cover the entire geographic area, so we still are looking for more volunteers in North County."
Additional volunteers are still need to ensure the accuracy of the count.
Allen said about 40 more volunteers are still needed in the Santa Maria Valley, 30 more in Lompoc and 20 in Santa Ynez.
Volunteers will spend about three hours taking part in the survey beginning at 5:30 a.m. on the day of the count.
"They'll go out with team leaders and other volunteers to survey people and to count people and the type of information they're asking is sometimes it's very basic demographic information, but it's also very health-related questions and it's also local question that we think are important and can help us better understand homelessness in our community," said Allen.
Upcoming training sessions are scheduled in several areas countywide:
• Isla Vista: Tuesday, January 21 | 6-7:30pm. Isla Vista Community Service District, 970 Embarcadero Del Mar Suite 101
• Santa Barbara: Wednesday, January 22 | 5:30-7pm. Trinity Evangelical Lutheran, 909 N La Cumbre Rd
• Carpinteria: Thursday, January 23 | 6-7:30pm. Carpinteria City Hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave
• Santa Maria: Thursday, January 23 | 6-7:30pm. Veterans Memorial Center, 313 W Tunnell St
Anyone interested in volunteering can visit the Point-In-Time Count 2020 webpage.