In January, the WilCo Homeless Coalition will partner with San Antonio-based Endeavors, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting vulnerable populations, to carry out a point-in-time count of those experiencing homelessness in Williamson County.

This will be the second time the county has taken a count of those who lack stable and adequate housing since 2011. The WilCo Homeless Coalition was founded in 2019 to connect those in need with resources such as through resource fairs. The organization’s long-term goal is to establish temporary shelter for those experiencing homelessness.

Ahead of the count, the coalition is seeking volunteers to participate in ensuring the county has an accurate count, as bad weather hindered the accuracy of the last count done in February.

Coalition member Christel Erickson-Collins said the data collected through the count is used to gauge what services are needed for homeless populations.

“It’s an opportunity for us to understand what the scope of the problem of homelessness is in Williamson County,” Erickson-Collins said. “It’s important because without understanding the scope of the issue, we don’t know how to address it, and we don’t know how to get resources to the folks that need them.”

Coalition President Ebby Green, who also leads the Round Rock and Taylor housing authorities, said the data gathered through the count is also used at the federal level for planning.

“It’s not something that we get funding for, but they do use it across the country,” Green said.

Volunteers will help count the number of people who are living unsheltered in vehicles or otherwise out of shelters. Erickson-Collins said volunteers will walk through areas of Williamson County over the course of two to four hours.

“One of the things that volunteers are often concerned about is their safety,” Erickson-Collins said. “This is a population that there’s a lot of myths and misunderstandings about. We want volunteers to know that they will never be going out alone. There will be training ahead of the actual count.”

Those who are interested in participating in the count must be 18 years or older and may send an email to [email protected] Participants are not required to live in Williamson County.

Where is the count taken?

A point-in-time count provides a snapshot of the number of people experiencing homelessness in a specific area overnight.

Unsheltered locations:

• Cars

• Parks

• Streets and sidewalks

Sheltered locations:

• Transitional housing

• Emergency shelter

Volunteer in Williamson County

• Those interested in the point-in-time count may email [email protected]

• Volunteers will receive training and will be grouped for safety.