VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Virginia Beach Housing and Neighborhood Preservation is asking for the public’s help in identifying locations throughout the city where individuals have been observed living without shelter.
According to the city, signs that an individual is living unsheltered include personal belongings left behind, a structure resembling a bed is present or individuals have been seen there on multiple occasions, among other tells. The information collected will help guide staff during the 2021 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count.
When reporting a location where a person and/or persons are living unsheltered, the public should include the date these individuals were observed and additional details that will help describe the situation.
The city is asking for visual observations only. The city has a Homeless Outreach Team whose role is to find, engage and assess the needs of people experiencing street homelessness and help connect them to available resources.
The PIT Count is typically conducted during one day in late January with the help of teams of volunteers, but due to the pandemic the city will not seek volunteer support for the 2021 count.
To allow more time for the city’s Homeless Outreach Team to complete the street count, the 2021 PIT will be extended and held Jan. 27-31.
"Since launching this tool in 2018, we have been able to identify dozens of locations that we were unaware of where people were living unsheltered," said Pam Shine, homeless service system manager. "Every year, we try to ensure that the count is as thorough as possible, and it may be more challenging to do that without the many volunteers that usually help with our street count. It will be more important than ever to have the public’s input so that we can enhance our outreach efforts and help ensure that everyone who should be included is counted and assessed for services."
Virginia Beach is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to conduct an annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count of the homeless population. The data collected determines how much federal funding Virginia Beach will receive for programs and services that help the homeless.
Through the PIT Count, the community is able to learn how many people are homeless, where they are located, how they became homeless and what services they need. Each year, approximately $2 million is granted through the Continuum of Care to Virginia Beach agencies that provide housing and supportive services to the homeless.