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Montgomery County Counts Its Homeless

This homeless encampment in Montgomery County was visited by volunteers during the annual Point-in-Time count of homeless persons on January 29, 2020.
Montgomery County Housing and Homeless Solutions Program
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This homeless encampment in Montgomery County was visited by volunteers during the annual Point-in-Time count of homeless persons on January 29, 2020.

Montgomery County's annual homeless count started this morning.

Before the sun came up, volunteers were already fanning out across the Dayton area. They have just one day to complete a census of homeless people in the county.

Teams visit shelters, meal sites, and areas where homeless people are known to gather. County officials will send the final tally to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD requires this annual census for funding purposes.

Over the past couple of years, the number of people experiencing homelessness in the county has been stable, at around 600. While this year’s count is still in progress, Program Coordinator Kathleen Shanahan is feeling hopeful.

“Some of the spots where we often find people, we didn’t,” she says. “So, that’s always good. There were also not any new spots this year, which is good.”

Shanahan says HUD requires the count to occur in the last ten days of January. And while the count is sometimes questioned, she says it’s just one of the ways the county tries to measure homelessness.

“Our outreach workers are out year round. We have our homeless management information system that we use in shelters. So, that helps us have a better picture of what’s really happening in our community,” Shanahan says.

Shanahan says what really matters is that people get the resources they need, and she urges anyone who needs help to call 211 or visit www.MCOHIO.org.