Every year on January 25th, the United States Government requires homelessness service providers and advocates that receive grants as part of “continuums of Care” to do a count of the homeless in their region called a point in time or “PIT” count. Niagara University provides the people power and training to do this in Niagara Falls, New York (USA).
The Point-in-Time survey is collected once each year, is the main source of data about the general homeless population, as well as specific subpopulations of homeless persons, including youth, veterans, families and those who are chronically homeless individuals. It also allows students to be face-to-face with the poorest of the poor and the often forgotten.
It is considered to be a statistically reliable, unduplicated count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families in the country.
“The collection of this information is critical to effectively planning to address homelessness in Niagara Falls and Niagara County,” noted Dr. David Taylor, faculty liaison of the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement. The point in time count “… really provides a snapshot of how many people experience homelessness throughout the year.”
Students — social work and criminal justice majors — guided by professors Taylor and Kevin Blair and trained by Christine Slocum of the Homeless Alliance of Western New York (@HAWNY716) conducted the survey.
Baillie Latour, a marketing major at Niagara University collaborated with the author in documenting this “impact project.” It is part of Niagara University’s deepening commitment to project based learning, active research, and interdisciplinary approaches to the implementation of its Vincentian Mission.
Are other Vincentian universities and colleges attacking the problems of poverty in systemic ways? Let us know sisters and brothers at DePaul(IL), St.Johns(NY), Mount St. Vincent(NY), Spalding(KY), St. Elizabeth(NJ), Mount St. Joseph(OH), Seton Hill(PA), Clarke(IA), Incarnate Word(TX), St. Mary(KS) Adamson(PHILIPPINES)!