Local Homeless-Related News: A New Way to Count the Homeless

by Diana Kurniawan

Any individual in the nation can be vulnerable to homelessness especially with the shaken economy, but how do you define who is more vulnerable then others?

A lot of agencies across the country would love a solid answer to this question, but how? Colorado Counts, a statewide initiative, is working to define this vulnerability in our state.

Colorado Counts, in collaboration with Community Solutions and 100,000 Homes Campaign, will seek vulnerable individuals in Colorado to identify his/her housing and health care needs. This statewide initiative is designed to work with local county governments and the Office of Governor Hickenlooper.

Think of it as a detailed, one-on-one Point-in-Time, which 100,000 Homes Campaign claims isn’t enough to determine a community's real need and help agencies address that need.

Volunteers will interview and photograph individuals living on the street (only those that give consent) to measure each person’s the Vulnerability Index — or how volunerable and therefore in need each individual is. Some have already been conducted

Variables that will be measured by Colorado Counts include: 

1) Life threatening health issues

2) Behaviors or circumstances which jeopardize health, life and/or housing ·

3) At‐risk for system involvement

4) Frequent user of emergency services

The model is taken from the 100,000 Homes Campaign strategy, which builds community teams to work person-to-person to help the at-risk individual find secure housing or permanent employment. Each volunteer in their designated community area will take a photograph of the individual, whom they have interviewed, and clarify their needs to regain a better life.

So far, 150 communities have participated in the campaign and the number of persons housed through this model is constantly updated.

The Colorado effort is currently seeking volunteers; visit them online or email them info@coloradocounts.org.