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A comprehensive survey designed to identify the service and housing needs of Bristol, Tennessee’s homeless population will be conducted at various locations throughout the City from noon on Jan. 22 through noon on Jan.23.
The annual Point in Time (PIT) Count is aimed at determining the number of homeless within the City during a 24-hour period. It will be administered by officials from the Appalachian Regional Coalition on Homelessness (ARCH) with assistance from the City’s Department of Development Services as part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care grant program. Those housed at the Salvation Army of Bristol will be surveyed first, then officials will move into other areas of the City in an attempt to get a complete and accurate count.
Similar surveys will be administered across the Northeast Tennessee region served by ARCH, which includes Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Greene, Carter, Unicoi and Washington counties, plus the cities of Bristol and Kingsport. A total of 405 homeless individuals were counted in the region last year, including 101 in Bristol. The Bristol tally included 18 who were living without shelter, with the remainder in emergency shelters or transitional housing.
“The purpose of the 2020 Point in Time Count is to provide a snapshot of our population experiencing homelessness,” said Christina Blevins, Community Development Specialist for the City. “The survey will help local government determine goals and measure progress towards decreasing chronic homelessness in Bristol.”
Those administering the survey will ask individuals to provide basic information about their household, income, and education, as well as how long they have been homeless, the number of times they have stayed in a shelter or on the streets during the past 3 years, and whether they have ever been approved for housing assistance. The information collected will be used to determine how best to meet HUDs goals of providing immediate and safe alternatives to sleeping on the streets, transitional housing with supportive services to allow for the development of skills, and permanent supportive housing to provide individuals and families with an affordable plan to live.
Those surveyed will be provided with gift bags as an incentive to participate. Food City and Healing Hands Health Center have donated items for these bags, but community members are also invited to donate energy bars, canned items with pop tops, and other non-perishable food items. Hygiene items and hand and foot warmers are also needed. Donated items should be taken to the Ewell Easley Municipal Annex, 104 8th Street, Bristol, Tennessee. The deadline for donations is Friday, Jan. 17.
Volunteers are also needed to assist ARCH in conducting the survey. To volunteer or receive additional information, please contact Doug Murray, Homeless Programs Outreach Coordinator, at (844) 989-2273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.