Frequently Asked Questions about the Point In Time Homeless Survey
Why is the Point in Time Homeless Survey important? What does ETHNN do with the results of the survey?
Our goal is to drastically reduce the number of individuals experiencing homelessness as well as to prevent homelessness. The data gathered from the surveys will be used to measure gaps in housing and services and establish community priorities based on needs.
What will I be doing as a volunteer?
All volunteers will receive training on the day of the event. Volunteers will be assigned to designated teams, each with an experienced team leader, to survey predetermined shelters, soup kitchens and other locations where homeless persons are known to frequent. You and your team will conduct a brief survey with each individual you encounter. The survey is designed to assess each person’s housing situation.
Where will I be placed on the night of the survey?
The Smith County area has been divided into several sections. Within some of those sections there are shelters, soup kitchens and outside areas where the homeless are known to live. Some volunteers will stay at the Survey Headquarters and help with administration and communication.
When will I find out where my placement is?
Depending on your shift, you might know upon registration. If you are Street Team you will be assigned a team location on the day of the survey.
What should I bring with me?
Make sure that you dress warmly! Please bring a flashlight and a cell phone if you have one. You will be given an orange reflective vest to wear.
I was asked if I had a vehicle I could use on the night of the survey. How will my vehicle be used?
Your vehicle could be used to transport you and your team to your assigned study area. If you’re not comfortable using your vehicle in this way, please let us know. At no time would your vehicle be used to transport a person experiencing homelessness. Arrangements have been made for a van with staff prepared to transport individuals interested in receiving shelter.
When and where will I be volunteering?
All volunteers will meet at Gateway to Hope, 601 E. Valentine, Tyler, TX 75702. After a brief training, and a meal, volunteer teams will disperse throughout the community and count and survey individuals living on the street, locations not intended for human habitation, and in shelters.
There are several shifts from which to choose:
A. 8 AM - 12:30 PM Gateway to Hope & Salvation Army* (Training 8 - 8:30)
B. 3 PM - 7:30 PM The Salvation Army & Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen (Training 3 - 4)
C. 3 PM - 7:30 PM Street Teams (a lot of walking on uneven terrain) (Training 3 - 4)
*Experienced volunteers only.
The survey will not be re-scheduled in the event of extreme winter weather.
While we ask that you prepare to be out until 7:30 PM, many volunteer teams complete their assignments by 7:00 PM.
What does it mean to be a team leader?
Team leaders are responsible for managing teams of three or more volunteers, ensuring team members understand the survey methods, and helping each member of their team to be as effective as possible. Additionally, volunteers will look to the team leader for guidance on approaching and interacting with homeless individuals. Team leaders are carefully selected and have a social service background or have experience participating in previous homeless counts.
Will any safety/security measures be provided for volunteers?
Police officers accompany many volunteer teams to ensure their safety. In addition, volunteers work in teams of three or more and are instructed to remain with their fellow volunteers at all times. We do not send volunteers into abandoned buildings or private establishments; the estimate is limited to public streets, parks, and locations offering homelessness services. Staff remains at Gateway to Hope Headquarters throughout the study to be in contact with volunteer teams via cell phone.
What if I have friends or family who want to participate?
ETHNN needs more than 50 volunteers to make the 2018 survey a success! Please share this document and registration form with friends, family members, and community organizations. Questions? e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 903-216-3211.