By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — North Central Community Action Program (NCCAP), a non-profit organization that works to provide services for low income individuals and alleviate poverty, will conduct a count to determine the homeless population in Marshfield on Jan. 28.
The count is called a Point-In-Time (PIT), and though it is conducted annually on the state and national levels, this will be the first year it is done in Marshfield. The count provides a snapshot of the extent of homelessness in a given community.
“I know there are homeless people out there that are not being seen,” said Barb Larson, program compliance coordinator for NCCAP.
According to materials provided by NCCAP, the PIT can help organizations that serve the homeless in a variety of ways. With an accurate count of the homeless, organizations can better justify requests for additional resources, make improved plans for the future, and understand changes in the homeless population in a given area.
The PIT can also raise public awareness about the extent of homelessness in a community. In addition, the PIT helps NCCAP contact those that could benefit from their services.
“We want to connect with them, let them know that there (are) resources out there available to them if they want them,” Larson said. “We’re trying to get services out to people who are in that type of situation.”
Larson is currently looking for volunteers to assist with the PIT count on Jan. 28. There are two shifts where volunteers will go out into the community and try to make contact with the homeless. One shift is from 10 p.m. – midnight, and the other is from 4-6 a.m. Prior to each shift, volunteers will meet with Larson to talk about what to look for, where to look, and how to approach individuals that may be homeless.
The volunteers will give tote bags that contain blankets, gloves, scarves, hats, hygiene products, and bottled water to any homeless individual they find. Larson estimated that 24 volunteers would be needed to effectively execute the PIT.
Those interested in volunteering to help with the PIT should call Barb Larson at 715-387-2626.