City, Local Organizations Count Homeless Population Across OKC

Thursday, January 23rd 2020, 10:11 am
By: Ashley Holden

City and other local organizations have teamed up to count the homeless population in the city. 
Communities that receive funding from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development are required to take the survey, also known as the point in time count, at least once every two years. Oklahoma City conducts their survey annually. 
2020 marks the 17th count for the city. 
In 2019, volunteers counted around 1,200 homeless. This number is then used to estimate an annual number. Last year that ended up being around 6,300. 
During the count, dozens of volunteers divide up across the city and ask people they find on the street question and also offer bus passes and other items. 
One of the organizations a part of the count is The Homeless Alliance. Their Executive Director Dan Straughn said the count is important to get those in need services.  
"Survey them, get an idea of who they are and more importantly what their barriers are and we will use that information to inform how we fund and deliver programs for the rest of the year,"said Straughan.
The count can be complicated because the homeless population can move quite frequently. 
The survey is taken around the end of January each year with the hope that some of the homeless will have moved inside to shelters. 
Volunteers also take a count at shelters around the city including at the Homeless Alliance.
Even though the count happens in the winter, the Homeless Alliance said the final count and estimate won't be ready until around June.