Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Homeless Count & Survey?
How many days is it?
Where do you count?
Where will I be assigned to count?
Is it safe?
How does it work?
How long will I have to count?
What do I do for lunch during the Count & Survey?
Do I have to sign up for all three days?
Will I receive any training before the Count & Survey?
Do I need to bring anything with me for the Count & Survey?
What do I wear for the Count & Survey?
Can I bring my children with me when I volunteer for the Count & Survey?

What is the Homeless Count & Survey?
The annual Homeless Count is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the local Continuum of Care (CoC) funding process which brought more than $32 million to our area in the FY 2015 application process. This funding provides permanent housing (Permanent Supportive Housing and Rapid Re-housing) and supportive services to our community to assist homeless persons with greater self-determination.
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How many days is it?
The Homeless Count occurs on a single night: January 23, 2017. All sheltered homeless data is gathered on the night of the 23rd. The unsheltered portion of the Homeless Count & Survey will take place over three days: January 24, 25 & 26.

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Where do you count?
All of Houston, Harris County, Fort Bend County, and Montgomery County.
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Where will I be assigned to count?
Your assignments will depend upon which day(s) you sign up to volunteer. You will be asked to provide preferences/areas you are familiar with when you register, and we will do our best to place you in areas you are comfortable with, but know that it is not always possible.

  • We will Count & Survey inside of the 610 loop on January 24.
  • We will Count Harris County east of the Hardy Toll Road and Highway 288; and Montgomery County east of I-45 on January 25.
  • We will Count Harris County west of the Hardy Toll Road and Highway 288; and all of Fort Bend County on January 26.

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Is it safe?
Yes – your safety as a volunteer in the Homeless Count & Survey is of the utmost importance to us, and you will never be asked to enter any situation that makes you feel unsafe. All teams will have at least one experienced homeless service provider staff with them. We conducted a similar effort to this in August 2015 and had no volunteer incidents of report.
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How does it work?
Volunteer teams will meet at their designated staging area at 6:00 am and begin surveying in their area by 7:00 am, finishing no later than 4:00 pm. Teams will stop wherever they see individuals who are suspected to be homeless and unsheltered and conduct brief surveys with those individuals. These surveys will provide us with more detailed information about the homeless population in our community. Also, if an individual who is surveyed is found to be a homeless Veteran, a chronically homeless individual, or a homeless youth/young adult, they will have the opportunity to be assessed for housing on-the-spot.
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How long will I have to count?
Teams will meet at their designated staging areas by 6:00 am on the morning of the Count & Survey to receive supplies, review their maps, and ask any questions they may have. Teams will leave their staging area by 7:00 am to begin surveying and counting. Teams will stay out until their map area has been completely covered, but no later than 4:00 pm. We anticipate that most teams will finish well before 4:00 pm.
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What do I do for lunch during the Count & Survey?
Teams can break for lunch during the Count & Survey, keeping in mind that they need to be finished canvassing their entire map area before 4:00 pm each day. Please plan to bring a lunch with you, or money to stop and purchase lunch while out.
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Do I have to sign up for all three days?
No, you can sign up for 1, 2, or all 3 days of the Count & Survey based on your availability and the areas being counted each day. We anticipate that we will need approximately 200 volunteers per day, so we would love to have you sign up for as many days as possible.
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Will I receive any training before the Count & Survey?
Yes! We will continue to do a mandatory volunteer orientation in January just as we have in past years for the count. More information on volunteer orientation will be emailed to you after registering.
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Do I need to bring anything with me for the Count & Survey?
If you pick up your t-shirt during volunteer orientation, be sure to wear it on the day of the Count & Survey. Also, if you have volunteered to drive your vehicle, then please be sure to drive it to the Count & Survey.
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What do I wear for the Count & Survey?
All volunteers will receive a free t-shirt at the mandatory volunteer orientation, and we ask that all Count & Survey participants wear their t-shirts while canvassing. Comfortable clothes (pants/jeans) and comfortable, closed toe shoes are recommended. Plan to bring sunscreen, hats, and any other sun protection/outdoor gear you feel you may need.
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Can I bring my children with me?
No one under the age of 18 is allowed to volunteer for the Homeless Count & Survey.
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