Volunteers survey homeless population as part of ‘Point in Time’ count

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 4:52 PM EST
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - Each Jan., volunteers conduct a ‘Point in Time’ count of the homeless population.

It’s an annual count of the nation’s homeless population, done through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The survey is essentially a census for the homeless.

The amount of federal funding agencies will receive is based on the results of this survey.

“We don’t want to see anybody left behind for any reason. We want to help everybody. Once we get people sheltered, then they’re more inclined to take their medication, go see a doctor, get mental heath counseling, get a job,” Director of Ministries for Interfaith Emergency Services, Jessica Rodriguez said.

All areas in which this funding would likely help.

It would aid people like Stencil Ponder.

“It put a smile on my face knowing that help is coming,” Ponder said.

Ponder has been volunteering with Interfaith Emergency Services for more than 20 years.

“Without Interfaith, I’d probably be back in the woods in a tent, cooking my food on a grill, or where ever, you know what I’m saying?…With Interfaith, I got plans to have four walls. They’re doing so much that I’m on my feet ago,” Ponder added.

And getting people back on their feet is exactly why this initiative is so important.

“I think it’s important for people to realize, that many of the homeless, they have disabilities so the services that they’re getting are helping them because there’s no one else in their lives to help them navigate normal life,” Marion County Commissioner Michelle Stone said.

One step closer to living a normal life with a quick survey.

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