SAN ANTONIO — More volunteers than ever are expected to show up Tuesday evening for the annual "Point In Time" count of the homeless population in the local area.
Planners at the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless (SARAH) said the fact that people are showing up to help offers proof that San Antonio is a caring community focused of compassionate help.
About 300 people are expected to fan out across the community, using a grid system, to develop a snapshot of need.
Katie Vela is the Executive Director of SARAH. Vela said the count was postponed last year because of concerns related to the pandemic and was canceled outright in 2021, so the numbers they gather this year are critically important.
Vela said, “We estimate we need about 1,000 units of permanent supportive housing to meet the needs of everybody who is unsheltered,” adding the numbers they come up with will help guide decisions about what and where to add resources.
Vela said people who have lived unsheltered for long periods of time need long-term help to put down roots and be successful.
“I think the challenge we have as a community is where are people going to live because they're going to need access to transportation. They're going to need access to food, so that means they can't live far outside the city limits. We need people integrated into our community and we need to figure out how to do that,” Vela said.
Vela said they have divided their volunteers into groups that will survey a total of 72 grids in the city and county.
The volunteers will offer the unsheltered care packages and free food as an incentive to participate and they said there will be two vans on-call to offer a free ride to the Haven for Hope shelter for anyone who wants to take advantage of the services available.
Results of the survey are expected to be released in May. In the meantime, Vela said anyone who want to learn more about outreach activities can visit their website here.