Coordinated by the Northwest Continuum of Care (CoC), an annual count of the homeless in Boone County took place at the end of January.
Point-in-Time counts give an indication of how homelessness rates have changed in the state and High Country region, and give support-service providers information they can use to prevent homelessness. It is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides $340,169 in competitive grant funding for the Northwest CoC member agencies.
Point-in-Time counts also occur annually in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey Counties
In 2019, the Boone County count showed there were more than 400 homeless individuals in the region, and 36 percent of those were children and adolescents. Those individuals made up 61 percent of unsheltered persons in the region.
“Since 2016, by expanding 'housing first' programs, we’ve increased the number of beds by 30 percent while decreasing unsheltered homelessness by 19.8 percent,” Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina's Executive Director Tina B. Krause told MountainTimes.com. “However, there is still much work to be done. As identified by HUD’s most recent Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, the Northwest North Carolina Continuum of Care has the third-highest percentage of unsheltered families experiencing homelessness in rural America.”
The Northwest CoC asks churches, local government, law enforcement agencies and service providers – food pantries, shelters, community kitchens, schools, utilities and hospitals – with knowledge of individuals and families experiencing homelessness to contact local system administrator Shane Johnson by emailing email@example.com or call the Hospitality House at 828-264-1237, ext. 5.
If you are experiencing homelessness, come forward to be counted. Let a food pantry, school, community kitchen or church know where you are. The count respects confidentiality of those experiencing homelessness and does not obligate anyone for unwanted services.
Knowing the extent of homelessness, particularly homeless families and veterans, assists the development of support services to meet the basic needs of housing to those in need.