Volunteers needed for 2024 Point in Time count of homeless persons in Sarasota and Manatee counties

While number of homeless individuals significantly lower in city of Sarasota during this year’s Point in Time event, tally was over 7% higher in county

These are data from 2018 through this year, collected during the Point in Time events. Image courtesy Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness

The Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness is seeing volunteers to assist with the January 2024 Point in Time count of sheltered and unsheltered individuals experiencing homelessness, the nonprofit has announced.

The Point in Time event, which takes place each year on a single night in January, “is essential for tracking progress, identifying community needs to end homelessness, and applying for homeless-related funding,” a news release explains.

As the National Alliance to End Homelessness notes, “Point-in-time counts are important because they establish the dimensions of the problem of homelessness and help policymakers and program administrators track progress toward the goal of ending homelessness. The first of these counts was conducted in January 2005 … Collecting data on homelessness and tracking progress can inform public opinion, increase public awareness, and attract resources that will lead to the eradication of the problem. If homeless youth are not included in local point-in-time counts, their needs could be under-represented as governments, nonprofits, and key stakeholders at the federal, state, and local level plan to respond to the problem.”

The Alliance adds, “On the local level, point-in-time counts help communities plan services and programs to appropriately address local needs, measure progress in decreasing homelessness, and identify strengths and gaps in a community’s current homelessness assistance system.”

Volunteers must attend a mandatory training session, the release adds. Multiple dates and locations are provided, from which people may choose, the release notes.

To register for the event, visit this link. The deadline is Jan. 8, 2024, according to a document provided through a separate link, which offers details about the training options.

2023 and 2022 data

This year, the Point in Time survey found a total of 583 homeless individuals in Sarasota County, including the cities. That figure was up 7.16% from the 544 counted in 2022, a chart shows. Nonetheless, the total was down 9.89% from the 2018 tally, which was 647.

In the city of Sarasota, only 80 homeless persons were counted during the survey. That number marked a drop of 77.21% from the 2022 figure of 222.

In 2018, the survey found 351 homeless persons in the city of Sarasota.

Because the Suncoast Partnership serves Manatee County, as well, that county’s data also is included in the annual report.

For 2023, the total number of homeless persons counted in Manatee County — with the city of Bradenton’s figure added in — was 567. That was down 4.54% from the 2022 number of 594. However, this year’s figure was up 4.03%, compared to the 545 total in 2018.

In regard to the other municipalities in Sarasota County, the 2023 Point in Time survey found 11 homeless persons in Venice; 19 in North Port; and 43 in Englewood, the chart said.

Among other details of the two-county data for this year, the vast majority of the homeless were age 25 and up: 990. Additionally, the number of males was far higher than the total for females. The survey found 745 males and 403 females.

Further, the number of white homeless individuals was 883, compared to 238 for Blacks or African Americans.

The total for homeless veterans was 122, while the figure for unaccompanied youths was 45. The count of unaccompanied youth and children under the age of 18 was nine.

Yet other data show that 231 of the adults were identified as having a serious mental illness; 205 had a substance use disorder; 166 were survivors of domestic violence; and six had HIV/AIDS.