For the second year, Metrocrest Services participated in the Point in Time (PIT) Count, an annual effort to count the number of unsheltered or homeless individuals in a certain area.
Thursday night a group of local volunteers gathered to go out into the Metrocrest Service Area (Carrollton, Coppell, Addison and Farmers Branch) to count the homeless in the area. For about three hours these individuals located and identified those living in cars, parks, parking lots and other unsheltered areas, conducted a survey and provided care packages.
Tracy Eubanks, Metrocrest CEO, said this year the organization felt more prepared with its pre-identification process of where the homeless would most likely be.
“We’ll be less likely to miss someone,” he said.
The information received from the count will help the community receive funding from the Housing of Urban Development (HUD) department as well as get a snapshot of what the issue looks like locally.
“This helps us as a community to know what the issue is and what we’re facing here in the Metrocrest area. It’s our main data source for monitoring and measuring changes from year to year,” said Brittni Coe, volunteer manager.
Coe said the count is expected to give Metrocrest information it can take to local police departments, city councils and other elected officials to bridge a partnership to monitor the homelessness issue. The count will also allow the organization to compare data from year to year to know exactly where to focus their efforts on.
One growing issue that Metrocrest is hoping to address is the inability to keep up with the rising costs of housing.
“The bigger issue is the housing instability we see in our community,” Eubanks said.
In addition to counting the unsheltered, Metrocrest will also work to find the number of people living in motels. Eubanks said the homeless who are unseen are a growing issue the organization hopes to capture as well.
The data from the count is planned to be released on Monday. Eubanks said he hopes the group will see any trends that may have risen over the last year. As the community works to combat homelessness, Eubanks said it’s important for people to understand how close to the issue they really are.
“We want the community to understand that this could happen to anyone,” he said.