Viral Newz

ECHO point in time count happening Friday


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Volunteers with the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) will traverse the city Friday night passing out care packages and hand counting the number of people experiencing homelessness in Austin.

The effort is intended to understand how many people might be without shelter on any given night in Austin. ECHO uses the point in time count, along with its existing data, to understand the need for assistance.

Perhaps more importantly though, the count is used by the federal government to designate funding and its the primary way it tracks the overall number of people experiencing homelessness in the United States, according to ECHO.

It’s the first time since 2020 that volunteers have been able to do the count. It was previously canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

The PIT counts take place in person all over the country. Results must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development every other year to determine the allocation of federal funding to address community needs. In 2022, this requirement was waived.

Since 2020, ECHO has developed alternative methods to gather up-to-date data on the homeless population.

Using numbers from housing programs and social service requests, the organization was able to assemble a Homelessness Response System dashboard that updates monthly rather than annually.

ECHO was hoping for 1,000 volunteers. It said the more people out counting, the more accurate the count. Those interested in volunteering or donating care packages for the PIT count can visit this website.


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