Each year, the county undertakes a massive effort to physically count unhoused residents.
The Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (THHI) is seeking more than 600 volunteers for the annual Point-In-Time (PIT) Count, on Feb. 22, a count of the number of unhoused people across all municipalities, as mandated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
According to HUD, each community shall make every effort to count all homeless individuals living outdoors, in shelters and in transitional housing.
During the Homeless Count, hundreds of volunteers canvas the streets, alleys and wooded areas to locate, count and survey individuals and families experiencing homelessness, including those living in emergency shelters, transitional housing and interim housing for homeless persons and places not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, sidewalks and abandoned buildings.
The data collected through a short survey and observation provides a ‘snapshot’ of what the homeless population in the community looks like during a single, 24-hour period and for how long.
There are several deployment sites throughout the county, including Winters Visitors Center at 403 Dort St. in Plant City.
Volunteers work one of three shifts: 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Prior to the shift, volunteers must complete a required 15-minute online training. Volunteers must also be at least 18 years of age, however high school students can volunteer but must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
For more information or to register to become a volunteer visit thhi.org.