Employees Share Experience Counting, Interviewing Homeless

Dominique Albrecht and Megan O'Dowd, both from Housing and Community Development, interview a homeless man as part of the 2016 Point-in-Time count.

Dominique Albrecht and Megan O'Dowd, both from Housing and Community Development, interview a homeless man as part of the 2016 Point-in-Time count.

The 2016 Point-in-Time homeless count is over and hundreds of County employees who volunteered for the early morning count last Friday may still be trying to catch up on their sleep! Meantime, the Regional Task Force on the Homeless is busy tallying up the final numbers. The total is expected in April and that number will be used to apply for federal funding to help the homeless. 

This is the third year that County employees have volunteered to take part in this snapshot in time and the number of people who give their time for this all important count has increased every year. For 2016, the goal was to reach 500 volunteers. In all, 531 County employees signed up for the count. An additional 96 employees volunteered to interview the homeless. 

Several co-workers allowed us to share their impressions of their experience counting or surveying the homeless. If you would like to add yours, please add them in the comments section.

Nancy Garcia and Loren Goldstein, Aging and Independence Services, inspect a map at the 2016 Point-in-Time homeless count.

Nancy Garcia and Loren Goldstein, Aging and Independence Services, inspect a map at the 2016 Point-in-Time homeless count.

Dominique Albrecht – Housing and Community Development

It was very educational going out and doing surveys, talking one on one. Homeless youth is becoming an increasing focus and I talked to a young man who was 22. I heard firsthand how he ended up homeless and told him about resources for help. 

He had been working. It was not like he never had a job. He lost his job and didn’t have family connections to return to. He thought it was completely normal at 22 to be out on his own and trying to make ends meet. He plans still to look for a job and look for housing.

Suzanne Bartole – County Communications Office

I interviewed two people who live beneath underpasses. They had been homeless for more than 20 years. One said he’d made bad choices, the other could not find a job due to a drug offense 30 years ago. After a time, he said he just quit looking. 

I felt really privileged that the homeless people I interviewed trusted me enough to tell their story. I want to get more involved now. 

Julian Shelby – County Technology Office

A retired gentleman named Dave and I were assigned to the Corridor neighborhood of City Heights. We parked and walked every street and alley within our assigned area, which in hindsight was pretty crazy! While we only counted one questionable homeless person… it was a great experience that I wish I could have shared with my 13-year-old daughter, who isn’t old enough yet, but wanted to participate. Soon enough!