Davis County seeks volunteers to count homeless population, expects jump in numbers

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People outside the downtown shelters in the Rio Grande neighborhood on Oct. 18, 2017. (FOX 13 file image)

FARMINGTON, Utah – The Davis County Commission Office is seeking volunteers from the community to help count the number of homeless individuals currently residing in the county.

The count is done annually, in coordination with the Safe Harbor Crisis Center.  The purpose of the count is to locate and identify homeless individuals and families, and give them access to resources and aid if they desire it.

“This is an opportunity for people who have a desire to make a difference in the lives of individuals and families experiencing homelessness,” said Heidi Patterson, director of residential services at Safe Harbor Crisis Center. “And it’s an opportunity for the homeless to know that in Davis County, everyone counts.”

Organizers of the count send volunteers to locations where homeless people have been spotted in the past. The count happens early in the morning, usually from 3:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.  Patterson said that it is easier to spot homeless people at this time, because they are usually sleeping, or not “on the move.”

Davis County expected to see a jump in their homeless population, due to Operation Rio Grande that began in Salt Lake City last year.

“Last year volunteers found seven homeless individuals living in Davis County,” the commission stated. They did not release an estimation of how many people they expected to count this year.

“We have an entire committee dedicated to helping the homeless population,” said Commissioner Jim Smith. “The group is comprised of compassionate individuals throughout the county, mostly coming from non-profit organizations dedicated to helping others. And this is just one of the great things they do for our residents.”

The count is scheduled to happen Jan. 25 through 27. Volunteers are asked to attend a training on Jan. 24, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  at Safe Harbor Crisis Center. Volunteers must register at www.volunteermatch.org, www.justserve.org or by calling 801-444-3191.