Kevin Valine

Volunteers needed to help count Modesto homeless

Teresa Olvera, Erika Aguilera and Nora Martinez with Telecare talk with Julie Vasconcellos at her campsite in Beard Brook Park in Modesto during the Point in Time Count of the homeless last January.
Teresa Olvera, Erika Aguilera and Nora Martinez with Telecare talk with Julie Vasconcellos at her campsite in Beard Brook Park in Modesto during the Point in Time Count of the homeless last January. Modesto Bee file

The organizers of the annual tally of Stanislaus County’s homeless population need more volunteers to help with the count.

The count is set for Jan. 26.

Tuesday is the deadline to volunteer. Those interested in helping can email Lynnell Fuller at lfuller@stancoha.org. Volunteers will need to attend a two-hour training session.

The Stanislaus Housing and Support Services Collaborative has done these counts since 2005. The collaborative is a collection of government agencies, faith-based groups, nonprofits and others who provide services to the homeless.

Collaborative President Taryn Muralt said Focus on Prevention is helping with this year’s count. The county launched Focus on Prevention in 2015 to find solutions to homelessness.

Previous counts have tallied 1,156 to 1,800 homeless people. Last year’s count turned up 1,434 people, with 1,015 of them in Modesto. The counts are snapshots of homelessness and should not be considered definitive.

The collaborative is required to conduct the counts as part of applying for federal funding for programs that help the homeless. These counts are conducted nationwide in late January by local homeless service providers.

But volunteers also survey the homeless to learn more about them, such as whether they have served in the military, the barriers they face in getting off the streets, and how long they have been homeless.

The surveys help service providers tailor the help they offer the homeless.

Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316

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