County needs help counting homeless

Homeless residents sleep late in front of the Twentynine Palms Senior Center Friday, Dec. 27.

JOSHUA TREE — Volunteers are being sought for this year’s Point In Time Homeless Count in the Morongo Basin.

The annual survey provides county officials not only with the number of homeless residents but information, about how they became homeless and how they can be helped to exit life on the streets.

This year’s count will be held from 6 to 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, and will once again see teams of volunteers fan out across the Morongo Basin to look for and survey homeless residents.

Traditionally, volunteers fanning out into the community, and those working at central locations where homeless residents can come in an self report, also provide homeless residents with incentives to take part; from food and hygiene items to sleeping bags.

Volunteers will need to register for the count by going online to wp.sbcounty.gov/dbh/sbchp and clicking on “Point-In-Time Count” to find information about registering and mandatory training.

In the Morongo Basin, a training session will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, in the probation conference room at 63665 Twentynine Palms Highway.

Training includes use of recently initiated electronic methods for counting homeless residents and an emphasis on staying safe while in the field.

“They can choose the city they can volunteer in,” Office of Homeless Services Program Specialist Claudia Doyle said.

Last year’s count employed more than 700 volunteers across the county. 

Wayne Hamilton, who works with the Morongo Unified School District to provide services to homeless students, emphasized the need to get an accurate count of homeless people in order for the Morongo Basin to get its share of state funding for homeless services.

The Morongo Basin, he said, is one of five regions which will get a share of $3 million in funding provided by the state to San Bernardino County for homeless services. The level of funding, he added, is based on the number of homeless people counted in the annual survey.

Last year’s count, 151 homeless people, grossly under-counted the number of homeless people in the region, he said.

More volunteers, he said, are needed to get to the out of the way areas where homeless residents have set up encampments.

“Normally we have about 35 people who sign up,” he said.

“The Morongo Basin is 1,400 square miles. We have people who are off the grid. There is no way we can count them with 30 people in three hours.”

He said he is working to develop a Facebook page to encourage people to take part in the Morongo Basin count.

“Try to find people who are willing to count, try to find people who are involved with off-road motorcycle or vehicle clubs.”

The bottom line, he said, is more volunteers are needed to cover more space.

“We are scattered over 1,400 square miles. These encampments are out in the middle of the desert. It is a challenge but we need to figure out how we can do it.”

For more information, call Hamilton at (760) 401-0375 or Doyle at (909) 386-8297.

(17) comments

Branson Hunter

We are a severely depressed area. Times are very tough. Money is tight. Pay these great volunteers minimum-wage

Josh

We are a severely depressed area. Times are very tough. Money is tight?

THATS NOT TRUE!! You keep saying that .

Tourism is up, construction is booming home businesses on the rise , retail is doing excellent.,the money spigot is in the ON position , prosperity is upon us.

You have a poverty mentality and a poverty spirit. Please stop!

Where is that outlook coming from ? Get up , get out , and go get some !

Provide a service , invent something , get involved in the art scene , market a product , DO SOMETHING ! Be useful.

But please stop saying your Debbie Downer Mantra..........

"We are a severely depressed area. Times are very tough. Money is tight."... That's on you dude.

That's a bunch of baloney.

idavidgraficks

The fact that both the City of 29 Palms and Town of Yucca Valley DENY there's a homeless problem greatly encumbers these efforts to help the homeless. At least the County is doing something right.

Josh

Hey!... pay the homeless to count themselves.

Maybe they can count birds at the same time since they are already outside alot.

A bum on the land is worth two in the bushums to birds .

I should run for mayor! Oh wait ... Im not corrupt.

desertsapien

Try running,

out of town.

Branson Hunter

Josh, homeless counters traditionally have been people that have shelter and are pretty secure. For example, a couple of years ago the owner of the radio station and the other notable local public figures we're out there doing the counting. Yes, the county is more much more concerned about people without shelters. Local council members are and have been pretty insensitie about this problem. They don't represent all of the residents; they represent the status quo and and their own special projects.

booboo77

The County will count the homeless but they won't feed or shelter them, Go figure. It's FREEZING out by the way. p.s. Josh is the real "bum" on this site. As in "bummer".

Josh

Ahhhh.. little booboo insulted me . More like boo hoo

Branson Hunter

"What would it take to end homelessness?" The New York Times published this article today.

It address homelessness like you've never seen before. I suggest County officials read this article, no need for Yucca Valley or 29 Palms Council people to read this they don't recognize homelessness.

desertsapien

Hire the homeless to count themselves.

Temporary work and some cash in their pockets.

desertsapien

How do you prevent them from being counted

2 or 3 times each.

Branson Hunter

Many seniors and aged adults sleeps in their vehicles. You will not find them living on the streets or living in camps. They are too proud for that. I talk to homeless people quite often. The myths and stereotypical misinformation does not help anyone or our society.

Josh

We are a severely depressed area. Times are very tough. Money is tight? THATS NOT TRUE!! You keep saying that . Tourism is up, construction is booming home businesses on the rise , retail is doing excellent.,the money spigot is in the ON position , prosperity is upon us. You have a poverty mentality and a poverty spirit. Please stop! Where is that outlook coming from ? Get up , get out , and go get some ! Provide a service , invent something , get involved in the art scene , market a product , DO SOMETHING ! Be useful. But please stop saying your Debbie Downer Mantra.......... "We are a severely depressed area. Times are very tough. Money is tight."... That's on you dude. That's a bunch of baloney.

Branson Hunter

Thinking outside the box, it's Rosie and then it's not so Rosy. Vacation rentals have increase the housing shortage in an already unaffordable Market. Big box drive-through, and crass commercial development is doing well. Realtors must be making a bundle. Tourism doesn't really benefit residence as a whole. 18.2% of the population for whom poverty status is determined in San Bernardino County live before below the poverty level.Datausa. we can well imagine that percentage is higher in San Bernardino County and the Morongo Basin. single mothers in the Basin are especially hard-hit whether they have jobs or not.

Josh

It's not the money it's the mentality.

Free your mind and the rest will follow.

Branson Hunter

Moreover, Josh, 74% of The Economist tell governments to prepare for a severe turn down a recession. It's not only common sense to prepare for such a thing, it's a moral obligation for government including a local governments to be prepared for such a thing.

Branson Hunter

If I understand you Josh you seem to be saying people who are having hard Economic Times that it"s their own fault or their mentality????? Who would want to defend such a thing.

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