Annual homeless count ends, numbers pending

February 3, 2019

The Mohave County Housing Authority conducted its annual homeless count last week, and the results could inform future assistance for the county’s less fortunate residents.

Volunteers from community organizations aided in a census of homeless people nationwide in January, conducting a point-in-time survey of not only the homeless population, but the needs and circumstances of that population. The seven-page survey was administered to willing Mohave County homeless in an effort to learn what services could stem future homelessness, as well as identifying factors in how such people became homeless in the first place. The results of that survey will be due to the Arizona Department of Housing by Feb. 13, according to Mohave County Housing Authority representative Terry Baughn.

“We’re putting together the preliminary numbers, but the results of the survey won’t be reported until June,” Baughn said. “It’s always hard to determine where the homeless are going to be at the time of the survey – it sometimes depends on the weather. But at least it wasn’t raining or snowing.”

The point-in-time survey is exactly that, according to Baughn: A snapshot of the region’s homeless population, compiled on a single night in late January each year. The survey will inform homeless care agencies and lawmakers on potential avenues that could prevent homelessness or develop new programs to aid homeless or at-risk citizens.

Information from point-in-time surveys throughout the state will be submitted to the Arizona Department of Housing this month, and will then be compiled and sent to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

According to the Arizona Housing Authority, the 2018 point-in-time homelessness study recorded 8,947 homeless residents statewide, with 2,459 homeless people in families with children. Of Arizona’s homeless, 578 were unaccompanied children, 970 were veterans and 1,463 were identified as chronically homeless.

Catholic Charities’ Project for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness was among the agencies involved in compiling Mohave County’s homeless tally. According to PATH Administrative Supervisor Darrel Reynolds, surveying a homeless population in one of America’s largest counties can be a challenge.

“I think we’ll see numbers consistent with what we’ve seen in the past,” Reynolds said. “But because of the vastness of Mohave County, we’d have to have an army to get a full count. We worked four days on the count, and a lot of preparation went into it. Catholic Charities and many other community organizations that assist with homelessness helped in the point-in-time survey … there are a lot of people going out to count in the Mohave County area – a lot of very caring people want to assist in providing any services they can.”

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