Annual survey begins to better understand and serve Colorado’s homeless population

Annual survey begins to better understand and help Colorado’s homeless population
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 5:29 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - To help address the issue of homelessness in Southern Colorado, Community Health Partnership (CHP) and the Pikes Peak Continuum of Care (PPCoC) teamed up again to conduct the annual Point in Time survey in which they count how many people are experiencing homelessness and need services on a single day and night.

According to a press release sent out by CHP, the information collected goes toward helping communities better understand why some people have lost their housing, and how they can design effective programs to ensure that homelessness is rare, brief, and a one-time occurrence.

“When we’re going out and asking these questions, this helps us get a sense of kind of the scope and amount of homelessness really in our community, and that allows us to bring in more money,” said Evan Caster, Senior Manager of Homeless Initiatives for CHP.

The press release goes on to say that representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Rocky Mountain Region will also help with the surveying this year.

“Mayor [John] Suthers signed on to be a ‘House America Community’ last spring and we’re very, very, very excited to support Colorado Springs in that effort,” explained Dominique Jackson, Regional Administrator for HUD’s Rocky Mountain Region.

This year’s main surveying location is the Catholic Charities of Central Colorado’s Marian House Soup Kitchen, but volunteers will also work in teams to conduct the survey throughout the region, as well as at some service provider agencies.

“We’ve been spending the last couple of months getting those outreach teams together, really clarifying where are we going, figuring out the strategy throughout the week,” said Caster.

But taking on the homeless crisis requires a lot of work, so CHP and the PPCoC are also getting help from the Colorado Springs Police Department Homeless Outreach Team, Colorado Springs Fire Department, the City of Colorado Springs, The Place, Homeward Pikes Peak, and Rocky Mountain Human Services.

“You have a community, you have a mayor that is working hand in hand with HUD and other partners,” added Jackson. “And learning best practices from other like-minded cities, utilizing every funding stream that they possibly can, to solve this very, very, very complex problem.”