Rockford volunteers participate in annual Point-In-Time Count
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Despite the anticipated snow, a group of dedicated volunteers took to the streets of Rockford in an effort to find each homeless person in the community for the annual Point-in-time Count.
the Point-in-time Count. or PIT Count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be complete during the last 10 days of January for a 24 hour period, that’s in order for the city to receive federal funding to help people keep a roof over their head.
“I know first hand what it means to have a warm place to sleep,” said Mike Hedrick, Rockford Rescue Mission homeless services director.
For 5 years while fighting a battle against addiction Hedrick was homeless.
“I knew I needed to change and there were organizations in the city of Rockford willing to make that change,” Hedrick said.
Hedrick Took Part In a 6-month recovery program at Carpenter’s Place, went to college and now stands on the other side of homelessness as the director of homeless services at the Rockford Rescue Mission.
“We’re here to do God’s work and help people stay safe, that’s what our calling is,” Hedrick said.
Hedrick says the mission does not use federal funding, but does work closely with organizations that do.
“We may refer them to Rosecrance to some mental health issues. Rosecrance also has some housing components to it which is funded,” Hedrick said.
“It helps with emergency shelter funding, transitional housing programs and it funds permanent funding programs as well " said Angie Walker, city of Rockford human services homeless program director.
Walker and a group of volunteers cover every street of Rockford to get an accurate count, but also to provide help.
“They ask them demographic questions and then at that point they try to link them up with any services and try to get them somewhere warm,” Walker said.
Walker says nationally homelessness has increased because of the pandemic, but she’s hoping to beat those odds.
“We have worked really hard this year to keep our numbers down or at least to an even number so we hope that shows tonight,” Walker said.
Walker says the PIT Count does cover Boone, Winnebago and DeKalb Counties. The Rockford area usually receives about $2 million each year.
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