COLORADO SPRINGS — The simple question ‘Where did you sleep last night?’ can have many varied and complicated answers for some in the community.
But it’s an important question and the answer could help resource providers better understand homelessness.
On Monday morning, volunteers began the annual Point In Time survey, or PIT count, as it’s sometimes called.
“Every year we are required to be compliant with the funds we receive, and also to get a sense of how many people experience homelessness, is to count how many people are experiencing homelessness on one night out of the year,” said Evan Caster, the Senior Manager for Homeless Initiatives at Community Health Partnership.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development requires communities to conduct a Point In Time Survey every other year. Community Health Partnership manages the Pikes Peak Continuum of Care.
To increase the accuracy of the survey this year, some groups enlisted the help of some of the homeless neighbors they regularly see. These members have deep ties to the community that someone who isn’t homeless may not be able to have.
Caster says one of the goals of learning this information is to figure out what solutions are working, and which ones are not.
“Homeless prevention, homeless diversion, working on ways that we can really prevent people inflow into the system. So we see fewer first-time homeless, fewer returns to homelessness, and that when someone is housed that’s a permanent solution,” said Caster.
The surge in the omicron variant of COVID-19 caused the 2021 Point In Time survey to be canceled. Caster said the 2022 survey showed emergency shelter use in Colorado Springs grew compared to 2020.
However, there was a noticeable drop in the number of people considered “unsheltered” under the survey. HUD considers anyone sleeping in