Catholic Social Service hosts training sessions for upcoming homeless count
During the last week in January, southwest Kansas will be part of a nation-wide effort to count the homeless and Catholic Social Service is looking for volunteers to help with the effort. Training sessions for people who can help will take place at:
--Great Bend, Jan. 10, 2013, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Catholic Social Service office, 2201 16th St.
--Medicine Lodge, Jan. 11, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Medicine Lodge Library, 201 N. Main.
--Greensburg, Jan. 15, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at St Joseph Church, 820 S. Walnut.
--Larned, Jan. 16, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the United Methodist Church, 701 Main St.
Many communities throughout the United States receive funding from the Office of Housing and Urban Development to provide services and housing for people and families who are experiencing homelessness. One of the funding requirements is that communities conduct a count of homeless people during the last 10 days of January.
The count of homeless individuals and families provides information about the extent and nature of homelessness in southwest Kansas. These updated demographics make it possible to examine trends and changes, and to provide education and awareness about the faces of homelessness in local communities. For example, in 2012 it was determined that there were 1023 literally homeless people in Kansas. One hundred and ninety-eight of those individuals were chronically homeless, 192 were veterans, 171 reported suffering from a severe mental illness, and 196 reported having a substance abuse disorder.
Regional planning groups throughout Kansas have been meeting and developing plans for this year's count of the homeless population. In southwest Kansas, Catholic Social Service is assisting with the count of homeless in nine counties: Barber, Barton, Clark, Finney, Ford, Kiowa, Pawnee, and Seward. For each county, volunteers are being recruited to administer a short survey. The survey begins by asking each person interviewed where they stayed on the night of Jan. 23, 2013. Volunteers will give the surveys from Jan. 24 to Jan. 30, 2013. Those who can help with the count of homeless individuals during the last week in January are asked to attend one of the training sessions listed above, or to call the Catholic Social Service office at 620-792-1393.