This year, members of the Kansas City VA Medical Center (KCVA) executive leadership teamed up with community partners for an annual Point-in-Time (PIT) count.
Throughout the day and evening, KCVA executives met at local agencies and supported the PIT counts at three locations: Benilde Hall/Safe Haven, Footprints and Harbor Light Village.
David Isaacks is the medical center director; Angela Athmann is the assistant medical center director. Both joined the Kansas City Police Department in compiling local homeless data as part of a police ride along (pictured above).
“The Point-in-Time is a date set nationally. It makes 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 this is when there are a lot more homeless folks residing in shelters and known locations.
“It is easier to capture all the counts and then be able to provide resources back to those individuals,” he added. “When it’s warmer, there are a lot more transients in the homeless population where folks may not be utilizing shelters or the food trucks in known locations like they do during the winter.
VA’s mission to end homelessness
At the time of the PIT count, Issacks noted that “about 10 years ago, VA took this on as a primary mission to end homelessness among Veterans. That’s when we started to develop these relationships with community partners. And we 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. We count and take the survey regardless of whether they are a Veteran or not.
“When we identify a homeless Veteran, then we can wrap additional services around the Veteran according to our health care system.”
Information is the source of data used to determine funding
KCVA associate director Paula Roychauduri joined 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.
Why conduct a Point-in-Time count?
The local counts are an essential part of establishing why an individual or family became homeless. And they 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.
USMC Veteran Vic Ziliani is a marketing specialist for the Kansas City VA Medical Center.