ROCKFORD, Il. (WTVO) — Winter weather can be espcially dangerous for the community’s homeless population. Monday, advocates started their annual ‘Point in Time Count.’
The effort is used to identify the city’s needs and get people help. Organizers tell us the snow won’t stop the count.
“It definitely does make things harder for us, but if we have people that have to live in these conditions, we can definitely still go out and count them,” said Angie Walker, the homeless program coordinator for the City of Rockford.
Even as a winter storm blankets the Stateline in a layer of snow, volunteers work to complete the city of Rockford’s annual homeless count.
“We’ve seen definitely all kinds of different weather. From negative twelve degrees below, to thunderstorms, to snowstorms, so we’ve definitely seen it all and we still go out and do the count,” Walker said.
Walker says the count is important because results can impact federal funding for homeless services. The first step is to find the number of homeless people who sleep in local shelters.
Several organizations started the process around 3:00 p.m. Monday afternoon.
“That includes places like the Rescue Mission, Remedies shelter, Carpenter’s Place drop-in center, [and] Jubilee Center. All of those places are already hard it at doing surveys with their folks,” Walker explained.
The other piece of the puzzle is counting individuals who have no place to sleep. Three teams of volunteers started sweeping city streets and checking popular sports around 7:00 p.m. Monday night.
“In weather conditions like this, a lot of people are more hunkered down or in enclosed places or they find different places to go that might be a little warmer for them,” Walker added. “So we definitely do potentially have to look a little harder than what we would if it was good weather, but we’re definitely up for the challenge.”