Cities across North Texas and the U.S. will conduct the annual Point-In-Time Homeless Count on Jan. 24.

Outreach coordinators and volunteers will visit shelters, churches and meal centers to survey each city's homeless population. The cities will work with countywide homeless coalitions to conduct the count.

As of Jan. 23 some cities still needed volunteers, including Frisco and McKinney, according to the Collin County Homeless Coalition.

Those conducting the survey will be asking several questions such as, “What are your most immediate needs tonight?”; “What led you to become homeless?”; and “Where are you sleeping tonight?”

There will also be more detailed information gathered such as age, gender and ethnicity.

The city of Plano and the Collin County Homeless Coalition will be set up at three Plano locations to provide care packages to individuals while conducting the surveys. Locations include City House, The Salvation Army-Plano and First Christian Church.

Care packages will have food, socks, hygiene products and other basic necessities.

Christine Ortega, vice president of the Collin County Homeless Coalition, said while the PIT count report can provide a brief overview, it is not an accurate representation of the homeless population in a community.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires communities that are applying for funding to serve the homeless to count the unsheltered and sheltered homeless on one night every January. The PIT census provides a snapshot of homelessness in communities across the country for one night.

“On the night of the PIT count, the homeless need to be visually seen to be counted,” Ortega said in a previous Community Impact Newspaper article. “Many known to be homeless are not always ‘visible’ on the night of the count and cannot be documented as homeless. For example, I knew of seven homeless individuals on the night of the 2018 count in Frisco that we could not find during the street count.”

She said it is why it is so important to have as many volunteers as possible so communities can cover a lot of ground.

For more information about the count visit any of the following websites:

Collin County Homeless Coalition

Denton County Homeless Coalition

Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance