Santa Paula Times

Santa Paula Homeless
Count: Volunteer training
today for Jan. 27 event

January 23, 2015
Santa Paula News

Millions of dollars are riding on the hope that volunteers will turn out in force Tuesday and help count those without a home of their home for the annual Ventura County Homeless Count.

And that includes Santa Paulans who are asked to attend Homeless Count training on Friday, January 23.

Kay Wilson-Bolton of the SPIRIT of Santa Paula is leading the local effort and holding the training for the January 27 Homeless Count at her office (123 N.10th St.) at 12 noon.

Wilson-Bolton noted, “Teams will be arranged and led by experienced counters. There is a good way to do this and a way that is not helpful,” which will be addressed at the training. 

“We want it to be a good experience for everyone, so please join us. Training is one-hour with time for questions.”

Wilson-Bolton, like others involved in the annual effort to determine how many Ventura County residents lack permanent shelter, note that Homeless Count is far from perfect as it takes place for one day although communities are allowed a little leeway in counting time.

The annual Homeless Count is a requirement for every community that receives federal funding from HUD in the effort to support homeless individuals and families in their communities. In Ventura County, local groups take part in the count effort in each of the 10 cities and the HUD funding accounts for almost $2 million annually to support programs and services for the homeless.  

Count teams go out early in the morning, during the day and in the evening to places where homeless persons are known to gather.  

Most counters - who must be at least 18 years old - are in the field for a couple of hours at a time.

Because so much territory needs to be covered in limited time the Homeless Count is a huge countywide effort and volunteers can take their training and participate in any city.

This year there are new HUD requirements for the homeless persons count, which is a relaxed, non-confrontational process that involves a questionairre. 

During the 2014 Homeless Count there were 31 people - all adults - in Santa Paula that were identified as homeless.  Of that number 17 were men, 10 were women and the gender was not recorded in four cases.

Of those counted 48 percent, 15 individuals, were described as chronically homeless, which, according to HUD’s definition, includes persons living in emergency shelters and/or on the streets or in abandoned buildings for the past year or more, and/or persons living in an emergency shelter and/or on the streets or in abandoned buildings four times or more during the last three years.

In addition, according to HUD, the person must have a disabling condition, which for the purposes of the 2014 survey included mental health problems, drug or alcohol problem, physical disability, developmental disability, and/or HIV/AIDS.

For more information contact Wilson-Bolton at 805-340-5025 or