Local homeless population counted

ESCANABA — This month, Continuums of Care (CoC) across the country are working to measure homelessness levels in their areas. As part of these efforts, a Point-In-Time (PIT) count of Delta County’s homeless population was taken Wednesday.

Menominee-Delta-Schoolcraft Community Action Agency (MDSCAA) Executive Director Julie Moberg said her agency is involved with Delta County’s PIT count, but the agency does not handle it alone. Instead, it is handled by a group of agencies.

“It’s actually through a coalition — the Delta County Coalition Against Homelessness (DCCAH),” she said. Along with the MDSCAA, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, UPCAP, Hope at the Inn, Tri-County Safe Harbor, the Gladstone Housing Commission, the VA, and more groups are involved with this coalition.

Moberg said the goal of the PIT count is to provide a one-day “snapshot” of Delta County’s homeless population. Data from the county’s PIT count is used by the coalition to secure federal and state funding.

“Our task is to try to count the number of homeless individuals that are in our county on that one date,” she said.

To accomplish the goal, the coalition provided service agencies in the area with survey forms. Representatives of these agencies filled out these forms to track their interactions with homeless people throughout the day.

“We survey the agencies that typically have people that are homeless coming in for service,” Moberg said. They also called local law enforcement agencies for related information.

Moberg said the DCCAH will likely know the final results from this year’s PIT count about a month from now.

“By the end of February, we should know our formal count,” she said.

In the recent past, between 40 and 50 homeless individuals were counted in Delta County each year through the PIT count. Moberg said she does not expect this year’s total to vary dramatically from this range.

“I think we will probably see … approximately the same numbers,” she said.

Moberg said that, while the information provided by the PIT count is valuable, it is not intended to give a complete picture of the size of Delta County’s homeless population. The county’s unduplicated homelessness count for 2015 included 460 homeless individuals.

“The (PIT) is just one day,” she said.