Annual Lowcountry count of homeless to begin Wednesday night

Volunteers will conduct a count Wednesday night across seven Lowcountry counties to see how many sleep outside in a single night.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 7:19 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Volunteers will spend Wednesday night working in this year’s Point in Time Count, a yearly look at how many people experience homelessness on a single night in the Lowcountry.

Officials from the Lowcountry Continuum of Care, which is a network of providers that work to combat homelessness in our community, said the count helps them provide specific and targeted assistance to people experiencing homelessness in our community.

Heaver Carver, the Program Coordinator of the Lowcountry Continuum of Care, said volunteers will spread across seven counties from 5 p.m. to midnight to complete surveys with people sleeping outside. The counties included in the count are Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Colleton, Hampton, Jasper and Beaufort.

The web-based survey asks questions of the homeless that include how long they have been sleeping outside, whether they have ever had housing before and whether they are veterans.

Carver said this information is valuable because it reveals trends in the homeless community, and helps them understand what funding they should apply for.

For example, people who’ve been sleeping outside for one year or longer may need permanent supportive housing. Or, if the count shows a high number of veterans experiencing homelessness, they may need to apply for more funding for veterans.

She said while it’s important to use federal funds in a way that makes sense in our community, it’s also important to engage and understand the individuals experiencing homelessness themselves.

“It gives people an opportunity to share their voice, of what is happening to them sleeping outside,” Carver said.

She said volunteers will also be handing out gift bags with hygiene and food items and that they accept these donations year round.