Sunday, January 17, 2010

ESHC of Jacksonville, Inc. is Gearing Up for Annual Homeless Count and Survey


Jacksonville, FL: The Emergency Services and Homeless Coalition of Jacksonville (ESHC) is preparing for their annual Homeless Point in Time Count and Survey. The Point in Time count is a one day snapshot of who is homeless during the coldest month of the year. Every January ESHC, in partnership with the Northeast Florida Center for Community Initiatives at UNF, volunteers and a number of member agencies, conducts interviews and counts the homeless population of Duval, Nassau and Clay counties. This is currently the most accurate way of learning just how many adults and children have no where to live.

“This count not only provides information on the number of people that are homeless, but who they are,” says Dawn Gilman, Executive Director. “We anticipate both an increase in total numbers in all counties and a percentage increase in homeless children and veterans.”

Last year ESHC reported 3,594 homeless adults and children in all three counties which is a 27% increase from 2008. This year’s count is expected to be even higher and more diverse due to the state of the economy. Job loss and lack of healthcare are contributing to a rise in families becoming the new face of homelessness.

ESHC is currently seeking volunteers to help with the count on January 25, 2010. Various timeslots are available throughout the day. Volunteers will survey and count in all three counties at a number of locations and must be at least 18 years old. “The more volunteers we have the more adults and children we are able to count and really define where help is needed the most,” Gilman adds.

ESHC is committed to coordinating efforts to raise, distribute and manage resources for preventing and ending homelessness. As a Lead Agency for Duval, Clay and Nassau counties, ESHC assists member organizations in applying for and receiving federal and state grant money, develops the local homeless Continuum of Care plan and coordinates the delivery of services for the homeless and those with extremely low incomes. ESHC employs two staff members and supports an Americorps VISTA. For information about volunteering or donating to ESHC contact Dawn Gilman at 904.384.1366 or email dgilman@eshcnet.org.

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