AKRON, Ohio – In collaboration with the local Continuum of Care (CoC), Community Support Services’ homeless outreach staff will participate in the annual Point in Time (PIT) Count on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. Mandated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the PIT County is an annual survey of the unhoused population.
The information from the PIT Count provides a valuable look at homelessness in our region and informs support service providers regarding the priorities to prevent and end homelessness. Organizations that provide overnight shelter will report the number of homeless (sheltered) in their facilities. Community Support Services’ (CSS) homeless outreach staff have been searching the county for long-term or new homeless encampments; individuals residing there are categorized as unsheltered.
CSS homeless outreach professionals work year-round to find housing for our community’s homeless population. Our “Tent to House” program helps unsheltered individuals bridge the gap between living on the streets and obtaining appropriate housing. Those who are interested in working with outreach staff are temporarily housed in a CSS facility while they await their acceptance into permanent housing. Those seeking housing engage with outreach staff, discuss their goals, and work with them to create a housing plan. Since the program began in the summer of 2021, approximately 70 people have been provided housing, including 10 who were housed in one day shortly before Christmas 2022.
According to Tim Edgar, CSS Residential Manager, “In 2022, the PIT count showed us there were approximately 441 homeless individuals in Summit County. We expect the homeless numbers to increase in this year’s count. Because it’s been a relatively mild winter so far, more people have been willing and able to sleep in tents. But more than likely, bitterly cold nights are coming, so that’s why CSS has been working with the Peter Maurin Center and other CoC agencies to create additional shelter beds.”