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The annual Point-in-Time Homeless Survey began across Southern Maryland on Wednesday, part of a large, nationwide effort that attempts to quantify the numbers of sheltered and unsheltered individuals and families.

As part of its Continuum of Care (CoC) application for homelessness funding, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that jurisdictions across the nation conduct a statistically reliable and unduplicated count of the homeless for one overnight period during the last 10 days of January.

LifeStyles of Maryland is helping lead the effort in Southern Maryland. Roughly 50 volunteers and staff members will fan out across the region to conduct the survey. 

While the goal is to provide a snapshot of the homeless in our community, LifeStyles takes it a step further by providing access to resources and distributing items to help them sustain the weather as well as providing information and encouraging individuals to access shelter and housing services. LifeStyles will also work with local departments of social services to provide shelter for those who seek it.

The results of the survey are used to:

  • Understand changes in trends among homeless populations;
  • Adjust the types of programs and services available according to need in order to use resources as efficiently as possible;
  • Justify requests for additional resources and/or programming modifications;
  • Comply with reporting requirements from HUD, other funders, and local stakeholders;
  • Raise public awareness about the issue of homelessness; and
  • Measure community progress toward preventing and ending homelessness.