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Annual Point in Time homelessness survey to be held on January 31

HELENA – The United Way of the Lewis and Clark Area are asking those affected by homelessness to reach out in anticipation of the next community homelessness survey.

This year’s Point in Time survey will be held on January 31 and is organized in partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Most of HUD’s staff are currently furloughed due to the federal shutdown but volunteers say they will be continuing with the count as planned.

The hope of event is to gain a better understanding of how homelessness affects the area.

During the 2018 survey 96 people in the greater Helena area and more than 1,000 people statewide reported that they were being un-sheltered or in emergency or transitional housing.

Dana Friede, the United Way Director of Development and Marketing, said while the survey has a national focus it can be a great tool for helping local organizations combat homelessness in their communities.

“It really is designed to give those folks in D.C. a better snapshot of what’s happening,” said Friede, “But also it does help to inform the decision making process and responses to housing issues in local communities like ours.”

If a person or someone they know is currently facing homelessness they can reach out to the United Way for help at (406) 442-4360.

In Helena the Greater Helena Area Housing First program provides housing services for people experiencing homelessness in the region.

According to their data, homelessness costs the community more than $49,000.

Greater Helena Area Housing First has helped over 170 individuals find an maintain housing in a span of a year.

More information about the United Way of the Lewis and Clark Area and the services they provide can be found here.

Reporting by John Riley for MTN News

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