Martha’s Village and Kitchen will once again be the deployment site for the 2017 Homeless Point-in-Time Count for the city of Indio. This year’s count will take place on Tuesday, January 24, 2017. Volunteers for Indio will arrive at Martha’s Village and Kitchen at 5:00 AM and will be deployed to conduct the count from 6:00 to 9:30 AM.
The Homeless Point-in-Time Count occurs once a year on a single day in January. Cities across Riverside County create teams of volunteers who spend the morning surveying the unsheltered homeless population in their cities. A count of the sheltered homeless (e.g. homeless in transitional housing and emergency shelters) is also completed in partnership with local service providers. The Homeless Point-in-Time Count is a requirement for organizations like Martha’s Village and Kitchen to receive funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Although it is a requirement, participation in this survey gives organizations like Martha’s Village and Kitchen a better idea of how to allocate resources and provide the most effective services for those in need in our community.
This year’s count will have special emphases on Veterans, families, and unaccompanied youth homeless. On the morning of the count, homeless families and Veterans will be offered immediate assistance off the street. Veterans and families that accept this assistance off the street will be put in touch immediately with the appropriate service providers that can assist with their case. For the duration of one week following the Point-in-Time Count, local service providers specializing in youth homelessness will also work to “count” and identify homeless youth age 24 and under.
About the Survey and Count Procedures
The survey created by Riverside County DPSS is designed to gather a variety of information about the homeless. The interview will begin with basic demographic questions such as age and ethnicity and will move toward more insightful questions such as where they slept the night before, how long they have been homeless and if they suffer from any disabilities. An observational survey tool will also be provided by the county for situations where the homeless locations are inaccessible. Surveyed locations usually consist of public parks, bypass bridges and surrounding areas.
An Indio police officer will accompany each team of volunteers to their locations. The Quality of Life Team from the Indio Police Department frequently interact, and have an established rapport, with the homeless on the streets and inform the homeless of the upcoming count and population survey. The unsheltered homeless are generally favorable toward participating and anticipate the day of the count. Incentivized “goodie bags” are distributed in exchange for their participation. This year, the incentives will include items such as toothbrushes, hygiene products, beanies, socks, water, dog food and informational inserts for local and county-wide homeless services and contact information.
About Martha’s Village and Kitchen
Martha’s Village and Kitchen is one of the largest providers of homeless services in the Coachella Valley and Riverside County. The founders began serving meals to their homeless neighbors in 1990, and now serves over a quarter of a million meals each year. Martha’s Village and Kitchen offers programs based on the nationally recognized “continuum of care model”. Their programs include Residential Transitional Housing, Food Services, Children’s Services, Career and Education, Healthcare, Case Management and Emergency Assistance. The organization prides itself on serving their neighbors by responding to their needs with food, clothing, shelter and an opportunity to become self-sufficient by affirming their dignity with respect, support and compassion.