Volunteers needed for homeless count

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Lauren Carroll/Journal

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The United Way and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Homeless Council are asking for volunteers to help in a forthcoming count of the city’s homeless.

Organizers of the homeless point-in-time count said that volunteers will assemble in groups of four or five starting on the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 28, and work in two shifts through the early morning hours of Jan. 29.

Some volunteers will work the 9 p.m. to midnight shift; others will start at midnight on Jan. 29 and finish around 4 a.m.

The count helps determine the extent of homelessness in the community, organizers said, and the data gathered will be used to plan services for the homeless throughout the year.

The efforts have been paying off, organizers said. Because of efforts to end homelessness, organizers said, chronic homelessness is down 50 percent and homelessness among military veterans is down 72 percent over the last seven years.

The count includes the homeless living in shelters and those who are not in a shelter on the night of the count.

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines and Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan announced recently that the two cities would join forces to end homelessness among veterans, setting a target date for the end of 2015 to accomplish that goal. Both cities are taking part in Zero: 2016, a national campaign to end veteran homelessness this year.

Organizers of the point-in-time count said that volunteers would distribute necessities among the homeless, and are asking for donations of such items as winter hats, mittens, scarves, gloves, socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, small bottles of lotion, lip balm, canned foods with pop-top openings, prepackaged food, sunscreen and bottled water.

Volunteers can register by visiting www.forsythunitedway.org or calling (336) 721-9378. Donations may be delivered to the Bethesda Center at 930 N. Patterson Ave. or to United Way of Forsyth County at 301 N. Main St.