Mayor Thomas M. Menino will join volunteers and special guests for the 34th annual City of Boston Homeless Census. Approximately 350 volunteers will fan out across every neighborhood of the city to conduct a count of Boston’s homeless population. The census helps put a number to the unmet need for housing, emergency shelter beds, treatment resources, and other services.
After helping to pilot an innovative youth count as part of last year’s census, Boston will introduce another new tool in the form of a mobile app to help make this year’s count more efficient. The HUD Point-In-Time Tool was developed by Simtech Solutions, Inc. of Canton, MA in conjunction with The National Center on Family Homelessness and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The iPhone and Android app will replace paper forms and data entry by hand, allowing data to be presented in real time for the Emergency Shelter Commission and its partner to review.
The app was tested earlier this year in Quincy and Brockton, and HUD plans to make the tool available for use in Point-in-Time counts nationwide in January 2014.
This year, the City of Boston is stepping up efforts to identify, assess, and assist homeless veterans living on the streets and in shelters. With support from the Veterans Administration, the Boston V.A. Health Care system, the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services, the City of Boston’s Veterans Services department and several non-profit agencies with specialized programs for homeless veterans, 25 veterans’ specialists will be embedded on census teams to offer services and assistance.
The 2012 Homeless Census found a total of 6,992 homeless individuals living in the City of Boston, an increase of 5.2% over the previous year.