About 400 volunteers have signed up to count Oahu’s homeless population next week, and the organizer of the annual homeless census said she believes that’s enough people to get a good picture.
“I am hopeful that we will get a good volunteer turnout and a good head count this year,” said Jen Stasch, the new director of Partners in Care, which is coordinating this year’s Point in Time Count.
In some areas of Oahu where the homeless “population is too hard-core,” they will rely on trained social service outreach workers backed by Honolulu police to tally their numbers, Stasch said.
Areas requiring more skilled outreach workers include the entire Windward side, the North Shore, “definitely Wahiawa” and downtown Honolulu, Stasch said. People who volunteered to count the homeless in those areas might be asked if they would be willing to work in a different community, she said.
A lack of coordination and shortage of volunteers led to frustrations during last year’s Oahu count, in which 37 more homeless people were counted overall compared with the year before — representing a gain of less than 1 percent.
Overall, Oahu’s homeless head count grew from 4,903 in 2015 to 4,940 in 2016.
Each community’s homeless numbers play a factor in how much funding they might receive through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which last year awarded a $9.4 million grant for Oahu’s homeless efforts.