Volunteers needed to help tally homeless population in Fresno, Madera counties

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In less than a month, the Fresno EOC will work with community members to take a tally of all the homeless in the area, and they desperately need your help.

Every year, the Fresno EOC staff work with volunteers to conduct the Point in Time Count. It allows them to see how many homeless people are on the streets in Fresno and Madera County on any given night.

Last year they counted 950 people.

"It's important for our community to know where we're at," said Misty Gattie-Blanco, Fresno EOC Sanctuary Director. "It's also important to know what we're missing. If we're not doing these types of counts and engaging with the homeless population, we don't know how many beds we need."

The count allows them to see what these homeless individuals need and the challenges they face, but it takes hundreds of volunteers to make it happen.

Manny Brar has volunteered for the past five years and said the experience was eye-opening.

"What surprised me is the number of homeless individuals in Fresno and the surrounding areas," Brar said. "Because you don't really notice it unless you pay attention."

The count also keeps a record of homeless youth under the ages of 18 and immediately connects them to the Fresno EOC Youth Shelter.

"We see that there's not only individuals, there's families out there too," Brar said. "There's siblings. There are mothers and children; there are single women, which scares me as well."

With these numbers, Fresno EOC can determine if more beds are needed, apply for additional funding, and start to connect homeless individuals with the resources they need.

"We wouldn't be able to do that if we didn't have the volunteers," Gattie-Blanco added. "We wouldn't be able to get them connected eventually to services if we didn't have the volunteers."

The count takes place Jan. 28 through Jan. 30. For details on how to volunteer for the Point in Time count or with their outreach team log click here.
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