INDIANAPOLIS — An effort is underway right now to learn more about the people in Indianapolis who are currently experiencing homelessness.
The Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) does a point-in-time count every year. The 2021 count will begin on Monday, January 18.
This information is provided to HUD. It helps ensure funding for programs and resources. It also helps identify any barriers certain populations experience when it comes to finding permanent housing.
Those currently experiencing homelessness say they think this is important information.
“It really is scary you know. I'm already here by myself. I don't have relatives here, so just trying to think about what I was going to do… I just didn't know how to go about it,” Lyndon Jackman said.
Jackman is currently staying at the Wheeler Mission Shelter for Men. He tells us previously he was living with a friend. When that friend moved, Jackman had nowhere to go. He told WRTV he stayed in a tent for awhile before seeking shelter here.
Unfortunately, Jackman’s situation is not unique. That is why leaders with CHIP say this count is so important.
"It helps provide a year-over-year analysis of how homelessness is changing in Indianapolis and how is who is experiencing homelessness is changing. We look at demographics, we look at households and families and where people are showing up,” Chelsea Haring-Cozzi, executive director for CHIP, said.
They will be gathering numbers from shelters in Indianapolis on Monday night. Outreach teams will work throughout the week to go out and count people who are not staying at a shelter.
“You really can't feel my shoes until you have been there and so it's very important to me that they stay accurate on how many homeless people that are,” Jackman said.
He said he is grateful for the resources available to him. He says he works in the HVAC industry and is working to save enough money now to get a place of his own.
Typically, dozens of volunteers help with the point-in-time count, but due to the pandemic only designated outreach teams will be going out and connecting with those who are not in a shelter.
A full report of the findings from this count is expected to be released in the spring.