CalPIRG Organizes Volunteers for ‘Count the Homeless’ Event
Thursday, Jan. 25, a total of 558 volunteers, many of whom were UC Irvine students, set off to scrutinize the streets of Orange County in order to complete the 2007 Point in Time Count of the Homeless.
Residents of Orange County may not be familiar with this event, but it is essential for the underprivileged people in our community. The count helps the government get a good estimate of the number of homeless people in Orange County that need help.
As of now, Orange County has about 60 shelters, which accommodate about 2,950 beds. However, many people are still turned away every day because the shelters are filled. Therefore, in order to provide for all or at least most of the homeless, it is necessary for the county to have a good estimate of the number of people seeking help.
Julia Bidwell, deputy director of the Orange County Housing and Community Services Department, said, ‘This information is used in many different ways, including in the County’s application for Federal Homeless Funds (approximately $10 million a year). It is used by homeless service providers to apply for other local, state and private grants. It is used by policy makers at the local, state and federal level to make policy decisions regarding the homeless.’
2-1-1 Orange County, a social services calling system is one of the main organizers of the event along with Cal State Fullerton’s Social Science Research Center, which played an immense role in the outcome of the event. The Research Center worked with the Orange County employees and divided the county in three main areas: low, medium and high density of homeless people.
They calculated about 30 low-density blocks, 126 medium density and 234 high density blocks. Then, they produced maps