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HUD R3 No.13-04
Niki Edwards
(215) 430-6622
http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states/pennsylvania

FOR RELEASE
Tuesday
February 05, 2013

FEDERAL OFFICIALS VOLUNTEER DURING PHILADELPHIA’S HOMELESS COUNT

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator Jane C. W. Vincent, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary Dr. Tommy Sowers, and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Barbara Poppe joined 125 volunteers on the night of January 30 in walking Philadelphia’s underground subway concourses and streets to count the number of homeless people seeking shelter from the rain.

For a single night during the last 10 days in January, providers in virtually every community across the country collect "Point-in-Time" (PIT) data on the number and demographics of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The one-night snapshot provides local planners with data they need to understand the number and characteristics of homeless persons.

“Project H.O.M.E. coordinated the volunteers for the overnight PIT count in Philadelphia,” said HUD Regional Administrator Jane C. W. Vincent. “Every number is a person and every person who is homeless is a tragedy being played out in our shelters and on the streets of Philadelphia. Being able to accurately measure this problem makes a real difference in the national effort to prevent and end homeless as we know it.”

Vincent, Sowers, and Poppe gave brief remarks to volunteers assembled at Project H.O.M.E., a local nonprofit homeless provider in Philadelphia, during a training session held before the count. After the remarks, they served as volunteers in the downtown Philadelphia count.

“It was an honor to be part of the annual PIT count in the City of Brotherly Love where so much good work is being done day in and day out to help homeless Veterans,”  said VA Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs Dr. Tommy Sowers. “Because of the effort of dozens of volunteers in Philadelphia and thousands more across the country, we will be better able to allocate our resources so we can end Veterans homelessness by the end of 2015.”

Data gathered from the PIT counts will be used to effectively allocate funding to HUD’s programs and grantees as well as measure the nation’s progress of Opening Doors – the federal plan to end homelessness. In June 2011, 19 federal agencies and offices that form the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) submitted to the President and Congress the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness. The plan puts the country on a path to end veterans and chronic homelessness by 2015 and to ending homelessness among children, family, and youth by 2020.     

“Philadelphia has set an aggressive goal to end homelessness and has reorganized its system in order to meet those goals—designing better approaches to meeting the needs of vulnerable people,” said U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Barbara Poppe. “I valued the opportunity to participate in Philadelphia’s Point-in-Time Count and see how the nonprofit, volunteer and public sectors are working together. This level of partnership is necessary to achieve the goals of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.”

This year, volunteers collected more detailed information about their local homeless populations, including more precise age data, the number of homeless children in families, and even the gender of homeless veterans. In an effort to better count and serve homeless youth, HUD changed its data collection requirements for 2013 to better identify homeless children and youth. Additionally, HUD is engaged with the USICH, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Education in a special nine-city initiative called Youth Count! to evaluate best practices for counting homeless youth.

For more information, visit www.hud.gov/homelesscount, and read HUD’s 2012 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, including community-level data.

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