FAQ

Why do we need to determine the size of the homeless population?
Why is the Count in late January?
Will the Count include homeless people who aren’t “on the streets” i.e., in temporary shelters?
How many people are needed to help conduct the Count?
Do I need any special skills to be a Counter? A Survey Taker?
Can I get paid to work on the Count?
What is expected of a Counter?
What is expected of a Surveyor?
I am not able to be a Counter or Surveyor. Are there other ways I can volunteer to help with the Count?
How long will the Street Count take?
What about safety during the Count?
How do I sign up to volunteer?
How do I register for a training session?

Why do we need to determine the size of the homeless population?
Everyone counts in Orange County, whether they have a home or not. We need to know the number and characteristics of people in need, so we can plan and fund appropriate programs to help them gain self-sufficiency. To implement our Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, we need a baseline against which we will measure our success. And, to preserve critical, existing funding for homeless services, we need an updated count of homeless residents.

Why is the Count in late January?
The federal government, the largest source of public funds for homeless services in Orange County, has directed that localities applying for funding should complete their Point-In-Time study during the last eleven days of January. During the wintertime, Orange County’s two National Guard Armories are brought into service to provide hundreds of additional emergency shelter beds. Many homeless persons who do not seek shelter during other times of the year often participate in this program during the cold and rainy season.

Will the Count include homeless people who aren’t “on the streets” i.e., in temporary shelters?
Yes. We will be counting those living in areas “not fit for human habitation”, which also includes any facilities recognized as emergency shelters (generally those that take residents from one day up to six months) and long-term transitional shelters (generally those facilities that take residents that have “graduated” from a short term program and need additional assistance from three or six months up to 24 or 36 months).

How many people are needed to help conduct the Count?
We need an estimated 1500 volunteers to help with this effort. The Orange County Point-In-Time Homeless Count & Survey project has several parts: a street count, a shelter count, and a homeless survey. The greatest need for volunteers is for counters and deployment site staff during the Count & Survey on the morning of Saturday, January 28th.

Do I need any special skills to be a Counter? A Survey Taker?
No. All volunteers will receive training that will prepare you for your volunteer role. However, homeless service providers, outreach workers and others that work directly with this population are especially encouraged to participate.

Can I get paid to work on the Count? 
We are relying on community volunteers to assist with this effort.

What is expected of a Counter? 
People interested in being Counters must be over 18 years and MUST attend a training session in January 2017 to learn about the process  (check our Training Schedule). Counters should also be able to walk one to two miles unassisted. Then, on the morning of the Count (January 28th), you will meet your team members at a pre-designated deployment center to get your team and specific area assignment. Finally, you will proceed with your team, led by your team leader (in many cases an individual with specific experience working with homeless persons) and traverse the area on foot and/or by car, noting the number of homeless people observed on tally sheets.

What is expected of a Homeless Surveyor? 
People interested in being a survey taker must be over 18 years old, and MUST attend a training session in January 2017 to learn about the survey, and about interviewing techniques. Surveyors should also be able to walk one to two miles unassisted. The survey process will begin on January 28th (See above for traning). Surveying involves interviewing homeless persons, in designated areas throughout Orange County to complete the survey. The survey includes approximately 35-45 questions, and takes about 20 minutes to complete. Completed surveys will be submitted to staff at the deployment centers.

I am not able to be a Counter. Are there other ways I can volunteer to help with the Count?
Yes! We need people to staff the deployment sites during the morning of the count & survey. We also need people to help assemble field team supplies and incentive packets that will be provided to homeless survey respondents. Please see our Volunteer Application or contact pointintime@211oc.org for more Support Volunteer information.

How long will the Street Count take? 
Prepare for a long morning. Check in begins at 4:30 for a 5:00 am deployment. Teams will proceed to their locations by 6 a.m., and depending on the size of the areas to be covered, will complete the count & survey sometime by 9am. Counters & Surveyors are free to leave after their team has completed their assigned area, and returned their tally sheets to the deployment site coordinator. The deployment centers will be open and staffed throughout the morning and coffee and refreshments will be provided.

>What about safety during the Count? 
Safety is emphasized above all concerns. Though the Count will be during the early morning hours, all participants will work in teams, led by a Homeless Guide and Team Lead with specific experience training for this process, and general knowledge of the geographic area to be covered. Law enforcement officers in each area will be notified of the counting effort, and will be on call to assist in the case of any emergency.

How do I sign up to volunteer? 
You fill out our Online Application.

How do I register for a training session? 
The trainings will occur in January. The exact dates will be provided later.