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SLO County seeks volunteers for upcoming Point-In-Time Count of unhoused population

Paso Robles Police Department

It’s been three years since the last Point-In-Time Count was conducted of San Luis Obispo County’s homeless population. Now, one is being planned for January and volunteers are needed.

The Point-In-Time, or PIT, Count is a count of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness that is conducted in a single day in January every other year. The PIT Count is a requirement of the county’s grant funding.

George Solis is a program manager with SLO County’s Social Services Department. He said San Luis Obispo County delayed its full PIT Count due to the pandemic.

“We’re looking at three years of older data," Solis said. "It’s not really an accurate snapshot of where we are today.”

Solis said this upcoming PIT Count will be important for better understanding the breadth of homelessness locally. It can also impact the county’s response and allocations of funding.

Solis said Social Services expects to see an increase in the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals, and to get as accurate of a count as possible, the county needs plenty of volunteers to participate.

He said volunteering for the count will look different than years past — factoring in COVID-19 safety precautions.

“We’re trying to recruit our volunteers in pods — so that the volunteers will just not be interacting with other people — just kind of being out there in their own safety bubble,” Solis said.

Volunteers are required to be vaccinated. They’ll also be using a mobile app to log data instead of pen and paper.

Solis said he does foresee challenges with the chance for inclement weather during the count and the future of the pandemic uncertain.

“What will COVID be in January of 2022? That’s kind of the great unknown but our plans are to move forward,” Solis said.

Click here for more information on volunteering. The 2022 San Luis Obispo County Point-In-Time Count is scheduled for January 26.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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