Local organizations collect donations to prepare for annual homeless population count
LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Local organizations and community members are working together to help the homeless, as part of an annual PIT count which will give an accurate total of the number of homeless people in Lawton to help secure future federal funding.
The PIT count will take place in three weeks in 16 southwest Oklahoma counties. PIT stands for Point in Time Count, an event which is held annually across the United States to get a count of how many homeless people are in each city.
The Point-in-Time (PIT) count is the total number of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January and in Southwest Oklahoma that will be January 26th.
“The purpose of the program is for us to collect data on those who are homeless, so we can better serve them and the government can better fund those services,” Bernita Taylor, CEO and President of Might Community Development & Resource Center, said.
While Southwest Oklahoma Continuum Care is out counting, they have called on other local organizations to help collect necessary items to give to the homeless in the area. One of the organizations involved is United Way of Southwest Oklahoma.
“We are specifically doing a drive right now for beanies, gloves and socks, and other essentials that our homeless population can really utilize out there in this cold weather,” Roxanne Wiseman-Heart administration assistant for United Way of Southwest Oklahoma.
Taylor said this is also an opportunity for them to ask homeless individuals about their biggest needs.
“All of the organizations, not only are they collecting supplies because we want the people we are counting on to know that we care, but we also want to know what their needs are. We also want to know how we can help them,” Taylor said.
Taylor said getting this count right is crucial because it will determine how much funding they will get to better serve the homeless population.
“Based on our numbers, because this is a federally funded program and those states that have the greater numbers get the larger portions. But, how we get our portion of what’s allotted to our state is based on our numbers when we count,” Taylor said.
These organizations plan on being the boots on the ground, as they work to hand out all these donations to the homeless and work to get an accurate count.
“So it’s important for us to know the locations of people and where they gather where they live. Especially during the day, so we can ensure that they get counted, and then they can tell us about their issues and concerns,” Taylor said.
“We will be out in the community, finding our homeless population, you know in camps or whatnot. We go about in the safest way possible and really we are trying to spend hope, faith, and love like wildfire and just build them up and support them,” Wiseman-Heart said.
If you would like to volunteer to help count, they will be having a meeting at noon at the Lawton Public Library on January 12th.
|Non-profit Organization||Item Collecting|
|United Way of Southwest Oklahoma||Hats, Gloves, Socks|
|Salvation Army||Hygiene Products|
|Hungry Hearts Feeding Ministries||Blankets|
|Might Community Development & Resource Center||Coats and Other Necessities|
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