Ten Niagara University students fanned out across Niagara County in late-January to assist in the administration of the Point-in-Time survey, the annual national count of people experiencing homelessness.
Data collection in Niagara County is managed by Community Missions of Niagara Frontier Inc. NU’s involvement was coordinated by Jackie Freeman in the university’s Learn and Serve Office.
The following NU students, all social work majors, participated:
- Angela Creek
- Joe Diminuco
- Kellie Friga
- Hailey Griffith
- Alex Kril
- Paul Martino
- Danielle Pelletier
- Adriana Ragland
- Abbey Smolinksi
- Tammy Wehrmeyer
“Students volunteering and taking time out of their already busy schedules to meet and serve those less fortunate provides agencies the ability to reach more people than would otherwise be possible. A little time given by a lot of people can truly provide both immediate and long-term benefits,” said Grant Babcock, director of operations for Community Missions of Niagara Frontier Inc.
The Point-in-Time survey is collected once each year, at the end of January, and is the main source of data about the general homeless population, as well as specific subpopulations of homeless persons, including youth, veterans, families and those who are chronically homeless individuals.
It is considered to be a statistically reliable, unduplicated count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families in the country.
“The collection of this information is critical to effectively planning to address homelessness in Niagara Falls and Niagara County,” noted Dr. David Taylor, director of the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement. “It really provides a snapshot of how many people experience homelessness throughout the year.”
Babcock also noted that the information gathered is critical to guide new policy and dictate changes in how organizations provide vital services to those most in need.
Communities applying for HUD Continuum of Care funding to serve the homeless are required to participate in the yearly survey. In addition, programs with facilities dedicated to serving displaced individuals and families must conduct a bed inventory during the count.
For more information on the Point-in-Time count or to assist in future data collection, please contact Dr. Kevin Blair, professor of social work at Niagara University, at ude.aragainnull@dkrialb.
Learn about the work of Community Missions at www.communitymissions.org.