Written by Erin Murphy, Director of Education and Advocacy Network at the YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish.
Earlier this week we covered the One Night Count in King County. Today I’m highlighting the Point in Time count that happened in Snohomish County on January 26th, 2012. Both counts work towards ensuring that vital federal and state funding continue to come into the community to fight and end homelessness; but the two counts are carried out very differently.
But first, I want to touch on similarites. For one, volunteers in every county are generous with their time and motivated to help end homelessness. I was especially moved by this young man and his motivation to volunteer with the Point in Time count.
I find myself continuing to reflect on whether I am someone that says “Ew” when faced with homelessness, as this volunteer describes. Honestly, I know that I have at various times, and probably most of us have. Which drives me even more to be “someone that cares” as he shares and change my own misconceptions about homelessness.
A great way to show that we as a community care, is to advocate for state policies that will serve our homeless. The Point in Time, like the One Night Count, is very much about advocacy. As I checked in at the volunteer table, I saw these advocacy cards for volunteers to sign for that district’s legislator. You might notice that the two requests in the picture below are the same policies that Firesteel is supporting on our bill page! You know that I signed it!
As far as the differences between the One Night Count and the Point in Time, I noticed two big ones. 1) The One Night Count happens really late at night (or early depending on your perspective!) from 2-5am while the Point in Time takes place from 8am-8pm during the day. 2) One Night Count volunteers are very discreet and simply observe without disturbing anyone. On the other hand, all Point in Time volunteers help to conduct surveys and interact with individuals experiencing homelessness.
Interacting with people out of the blue can be pretty intimidating, so I was really impressed with the volunteer training. Like this video walking through an example interaction–just one of many volunteer training videos!
I was helping in the South County area which was coordinated by YWCA Pathways for Women. I even received a personal thank you letter for volunteering! Did I say I was impressed already?
With the numbers this year higher than last year, it shows an even greater need for advocacy. So I’m going to leave you with an advocacy update from our awesome colleagues at WLIHA:
The Senate just released their Operating and Capital Budgets — and thanks are in order to the Senate for robust funding for many human services including the Housing and Essential Needs program! However, the Senate allocation of $30 million for the Housing Trust Fund is still far from the $100 million allocated in the House Capital Budget.
Please help us send an urgent message to your Senator today: “Thank you for the strong funding for Housing and Essential Needs & for human services. Please do the same for Affordable Housing — fund the Housing Trust Fund at $100 million.” With only 10 days left of the session, we need to work quickly to make sure the Senate gets this message.
What can you do today?
- Step one is to click here and send your Senator an email.
- Step two is to follow up with a phone call to your Senator.
Dial the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message like this: “Thank you for the strong funding for Housing and Essential Needs & for human services. Please do the same for Affordable Housing – fund the Housing Trust Fund at $100 million.”
- Step three is to ask 3 other people to take action today– our goal is to create a constant stream of emails and phone calls from all across the state that our elected officials cannot ignore!