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This year's Count will take place on January 24, 2019
The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) conducts its annual Point-In-Time Homeless Count to obtain a “snapshot” of Chicago’s homeless population, in accordance with Federal regulations. The data gathered on the actual number of persons experiencing homelessness in Chicago within this designated night serves as a basis for Federal funding, for service and resource planning, and to raise public awareness about homelessness. The count is conducted by volunteers, working in concert with shelter staff, as well as CTA, Chicago Park District, CPD, and CFD personnel throughout the city. For the last four years, UChicago has been one of the largest providers of volunteers for the Count city-wide, supporting all South Side count efforts.
Generally speaking, the Count itself lasts from approximately 9 PM until 3 AM, with the majority of volunteers' time spent in vehicles canvassing city neighborhoods in search of homeless persons; when such persons are encountered, volunteers invite them to participate in a short interview survey to gather more detailed information about their experiences of homelessness. Volunteers should dress warmly/in layers, as they will be in and out of their assigned vehicle repeatedly throughout the night. Volunteers with access to cars (personal vehicles or car-share vehicles) are especially helpful to the canvassing effort.
Typical Count schedule:
8:00 PM Gather at UCSC Offices (6030 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637) for division into service site groups
8:30 PM Teams depart for three South and Southwest Side sites that UChicago is supporting (each team will depart when their vehicle is full)
9:00 PM Volunteer/safety training at site; formation of mixed-group counting teams (with volunteers from around Chicago); assignment of designated canvassing areas
10:00 PM – 2:00 AM Canvassing in designated area(s) of the city, stopping to deliver hats/gloves and collect survey information from homeless persons encountered
2:30–3:00 AM Counting teams return to service site to return survey materials, and UChicago groups return to campus (once each vehicle's assigned volunteers have ALL checked in)
3:30 AM Arrival in Hyde Park (at the latest)
Click here to learn more about the Count from this 2014 South Side Weekly article by reporter Jake Bittle, who participated in the Count as a UChicago student.
Image taken from the Chicago Tribune