Every year the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandates a census of people in all communities experiencing homelessness. This census takes place at a single point in time in order to develop unduplicated data. Three years ago the Urban Ministry Center began using this requirement as an opportunity to gather information that they can use to help people experiencing homelessness instead of just feeding data to the government. They follow-up to ensure the homeless neighbors are familiar with the services of the Urban Ministry Center and identify the chronically homeless in order to try and provide housing. This is part of their crusade to end chronic homelessness.
The point in Time Count involves approximately 400 volunteers to count approximately 2,000 homeless neighbors in Charlotte.
For the second year in a row F3 was able to participate in the effort. We were tasked with assisting the volunteers who would go out and count when they assimilate at First Presbyterian Church in the morning. We helped with parking, checked in the volunteers, provided and set up breakfast for the volunteers, and filled in at other duties as necessary.
This year we also provided another service. F3 purchased 50 sleeping bags and distributed them to neighbors in need. The count begins at 5 AM before those to be counted were on the move. As the counting volunteers encountered neighbors sleeping without sufficient bedding, they called an F3 car to come and drop off blankets and sleeping bags. I was on one of the sleeping bag delivery teams. There were indeed folks sleeping in only their clothes on the concrete. It was 36 degrees.
- I’m not exactly sure why this effort occurs in the coldest month of the year. I think it has something to do with the greatest number of homelessness neighbors being in shelters and less to count outside. Personally I think it was just to give Nibbler something to complain about. Just kidding, Nibbler didn’t complain. He is sort of like the police though, never there when you need him but there when you don’t. Or something like that. We didn’t know he was coming but were darn glad to see him. Luckily he left his sailor vocabulary at home.
- For those who stuck around until 7:30 you were lucky enough to see an Anchorman-esque rumble between two dueling news stations. I thought that stuff only happened in the movies. I guess 60% of the time it works every time. The realized that Wake-Up is kind of a big deal, he has many leather bound books and his apartment smells of rich mahogany.
- Waking up 45 minutes before I normally wake up for a workout really really sucks. I don’t know how FIA does it so early.
- I think Nibbler ate 6 muffins, just sayin’
- My wife was there to lead a count team. She was nice enough to share several embarrassing stories about YHC in front of all my friends. I guess whatever it was that came to mind. Nothing like a little humiliation at 4:45 AM. I was too tired to be angry.
- Thanks to Curly who’s church donated a lot of the blankets that were given out this morning.
- Thank you to the F3 Foundation for supporting our efforts. Some nice plugs for F3 were given and we definitely had a positive impact on our community today.
- Thanks to everyone who was willing to get up extra early and help out today. Your efforts are very much appreciated. We helped make things ruin smooth, made sure the teams were fed, and we are helping to keep 50 folks warm tonight. #impact
Until next time.