RALEIGH, N.C. — Communities across the state will be hitting the streets for the annual Point In Time Count. The nationwide count identifies the number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires a local Continuum of Care Program that receives federal funding to participate in the count each year.
The purpose is to provide local organizations with the necessary funding to help the homeless population in their community.
The 2022 Point In Time Count revealed 2,491 people in North Carolina were experiencing homelessness on Jan. 26, 2022.
Housing For New Hope takes the lead on the count each year in Durham County. The nonprofit has helped more than 700 people out of homelessness and into permanent and stable housing.
“There are 20 families that are sleeping in cars around the city because they can’t get access to the shelter because there is not enough space,” said Russ Pierce, executive director for Housing For New Hope.
The nonprofit packed 200 winter essential bags that will be handed out to people that they encounter during the count on the night of Jan. 25.
“The bags will do, be kind of a gift for them and many times will help us start a conversation about the next steps towards housing,” Pierce said.
Pierce says last year in Durham they came across about 400 people who were either unsheltered, in an emergency shelter or in temporary housing.
“We have identified about 100 sites where folks are sleeping in tents, they’re sleeping in abandon buildings and porches and things,” Pierce said.
With the rapid growth in the city, Pierce says they expect that number to be higher this year. They have already identified 40 additional sites that they will be canvasing that did not exist in years past.
“We are seeing prices go up so quickly for housing and people are being displaced, so a lot of our work is to find ways to ensure that everyone has housing and has a sustainable way to maintain that housing,” Pierce said.