Carbon County's annual Point-in-Time homeless count will take place next week on Wednesday, January 22nd.
It's a way for communities to identify the number of homeless people in the area. That number helps secure funding for those without living arrangements.
Those involved with the count believe the number of homeless individuals living in Carbon County has been underrepresented in prior years.
"Last year I believe there was a total of two families and three individuals on the count and we know there are more people right now experiencing homelessness in our county," said Krista Brown-Ly, executive director of Family Promise of Carbon County.
Brown-Ly is one of many preparing for next week's count. Volunteers will walk around to identify those who are homeless in Carbon County.
"Different parking lots, different known places where individuals experiencing homelessness may be sleeping and try to gather information about them so they can be counted," said Brown-Ly.
Kim Miller of the Carbon County Action Committee has been organizing the count for years. She says the amount of homeless individuals is trending upwards.
"All the agencies that are serving homeless or near homeless individuals in Carbon County have been experiencing an increase in requests for services," said Miller.
That's why this year more is being done to try to get the most precise total.
On the night of January 22nd, a handful of community meals will be held around the county for anyone to attend.
"Inviting them to come in not just simply to be counted but to know that people care, there's information available for them, if they need survival packages or food or anything else," said Miller.
This is also the first year the newly-formed Carbon County Homelessness Task Force will be involved.
"They're going to be volunteering to go out in the community to do the walk-abouts and to attend some of the community meals and make sure we get an accurate count," said Brown-Ly.
It's a team effort to tackle the growing homelessness problem. And the more accurate that point-in-time count, the more these groups can help those homeless individuals and families.
"For us to be able to open new shelters and be able to meet the needs of families or individuals who are experiencing homelessness, we need the funding to be increased that comes into our county," said Brown-Ly.
The count will happen overnight from January 22nd to the 23rd.
Volunteers are still needed to help.
If any individuals or church organizations are paying for homeless people to stay at a hotel on that night, they can be included in the sheltered count. You can email Christine LeClair at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.