On January 27-28, Tusculum College’s service-learning classes will be assisting the Appalachian Regional Coalition on Homelessness on the 2011 Point-in-Time census count. The Point-in-Time Count project is an event to document the homeless and precariously-housed populations in the county.
According to Will Lewis, assistant professor of sociology for Tusculum College and one of the coordinators of this year’s project, the group is asking for help from the community to identify as many homeless and precariously-housed persons as possible.
”This census is critical because the Point-in-Time count is the number for which most federal aid to support homeless social services support and programming is based on,” said Lewis. “Over the past 7 years, this has totaled more than $80 million in funding for homeless support services in the Upper East Tennessee area.”
The students, in coordination with the Appalachian Regional Coalition, will actually be making the physical count on January 27-28; however, they are seeking community assistance in identifying as many of these people prior to that date as possible.
Those who need to be identified include known homeless persons and those that are considered precariously-housed, including those in non-traditional housing such as hotels or garages, those without running water or electricity or those who are moving from place to place with no permanent residence.
”This is a difficult group to identify,” said Lewis, as they are often recently displaced from their homes and reluctant to use homeless support agencies.
He added that because of the current economic conditions, they are expecting this population to have increasingly higher numbers this year than last. According to ARCH, there are more than 800 homeless persons in northeastern Tennessee.
”It is important that we identify these people so that we can secure the greatest amount of funding to provide support, relief and other social services for them,” Lewis said.
Anyone who would be willing to provide names of homeless or precariously-housed persons may contact the Center for Civic Advancement Tip line at 423-636-7372, where questions and information can be directed to Joyce Doughty.