Kansas City VA Medical Center
KCVA Leaders Participate in Point-in-Time Count
This year members of the Kansas City VA Medical Center (KCVA) executive leadership teamed up with community partners for the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) count. The PIT count occurs every year and is a national census of area homeless persons. KCVA leadership teamed up with local officials to count the metro homeless.
Throughout the day and evening, KCVA executives met at local agencies and supported the PIT counts at these locations: Benilde Hall/Safe Haven, Footprints, Harbor Light Village. KCVA Medical Center Director David Isaacks and Assistant Medical Center Director, Angela Athmann joined the Kansas City Police Department, Metro Patrol Division in compiling local homeless data as a part of a police ride along.
“The point in time is a date set nationally, and that is to make sure we are not double counting, said Isaacks. “One of the reasons it is done this time of year is not just because of funding, but because it is when there are a lot more homeless folks residing in shelters and known locations, so it is easier to capture all the counts and then be able to provide resources back to those individuals. When it’s warmer, there is a lot more transient in the homeless population where folks may not be utilizing shelters or the food trucks in known locations like they do during the winter.
“This evening we’ll go around to different community locations, and we will count homeless individuals. The VA is part of that because we have a strong mission to end homelessness in the metro. That’s how we’re connected to this community action. About ten years ago, the VA took this on as a primary mission to end homelessness among Veterans. That’s where we started to develop these relationships with community partners and get additional authorities from Congress to deliver care and resources to homeless Veterans.
“The count is critical because that’s how nationally the funding may come from the federal government or the state government to provide resources to the community for homeless initiatives. Still, specifically for Veterans, as we take part in this, we count and take the survey regardless of whether they are a Veteran or not. Specifically, when we identify that it is a Veteran, then we can wrap additional services around the Veteran according to our health care system.”
KCVA Associate Director, Paula Roychauduri, joined Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program liaison, Susan Maloney, at Benilde Hall. They spent the afternoon meeting with Ken Vick, Executive Director at Benilde Hall, and homeless Veterans in the program while combining crucial data for VA. They counted 22 Veterans enrolled at Safe Haven for the larger metro count.
Maloney said, “Point in Time information is the main source of data used to determine federal funding for our Homeless Veterans. The importance of our community’s partners like Benilde Hall who provide services to these vulnerable Veterans cannot be understated!”
Why conduct a Point-in-Time count?
The local counts are an essential part of establishing why an individual or family became homeless and further work to remedy state and national homeless communities. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities to conduct periodic counts of people experiencing homelessness. VA has actively supported the annual PIT Count for many years. Yearly PIT counts contribute to presenting timely homeless area data to understand better what area Veterans, individuals, and families are experiencing homelessness. The data is critical in building an essential part to craft a community-wide response. Local, state and national data is compiled and used to develop and enhance programs to combat homelessness.