02/01/2013 - What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH January 28 - February 1

PIT Counts accelerate across the country

With PIT Counts taking place across the U.S. this week, people experiencing homelessness are being counted and receiving the support services they need. In Texas, a Homeless Connect event coincided with the PIT Count and drew a line of people three hours before the event’s doors opened. Among the services offered to people attending the event were health screenings, pet care, bicycle repair, haircuts, food and clothing; dental services were among the highest in demand. In Bergen County, NJ, an array of services were offered to people experiencing homelessness during the PIT Count through a Homeless Connect event. As a result of combined efforts, these events help to address homelessness in two ways, 1) take a census of people experiencing homelessness in order to receive federal funds to provide the services needed throughout the year, and 2) provide services to meet the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness, like a haircut, dental work, food, and clothing. 

There nine Youth Count! initiative sites have also begun their work. Melissa Harris-Perry’s show on MSNBC shared the importance of counting and understanding youth homelessness in New York City on last weekend’s show, which you can watch here. The Youth Count! initiative in Cleveland also conducted its count last week, using the opportunity as an outreach event in a central location in the area. Check out their work here. 

This week USICH staff participated in PIT counts in New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Winston-Salem, Las Vegas, and more. Throughout the next couple of weeks we’ll be sharing their experiences and highlighting the great organizations they worked with in their counts. Yesterday, USICH shared a blog written by our Regional Coordinator Beverley Ebersold who recounts her experience at the Chicago PIT Count. Read the blog here

Great work in Minnesota

Hannepin County has been able to decrease Veteran homelessness by 53 percent since 2009, becoming one of the leaders in this effort across the country. Matthew Ayers, a project manager with the Minneapolis/Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness noted that, “The reason we’ve seen the dramatic reduction compared to the other groups is (the) federal government has made a commitment to end veterans homelessness in five years,” Ayres said. This federal collaboration, paired with smart and strategic use of resources like HUD-VASH vouchers and wraparound services, has helped make this progress possible. Learn more here.


If you missed SAMHSA’s webinar on homelessness prevention last week, you can access the recording and more information on the topic here.

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council will host a great webinar in February that aligns with the important Opening Doors theme of improving health, well-being and stability Integrating Behavioral Health & Primary Care for People Experiencing Homelessness on February 19. Register today for this webinar.

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