Wyoming, Casper Agencies To Conduct ‘Point-In-Time’ Count Of Homeless People
Gov. Matt Mead recently spoke with a fourth-grade teacher who told him she has four students who are homeless, he said Thursday.
She told him the students were not without shelter, but rather they engaged in "couch-surfing" by staying at different places from night to night, Mead said after signing a proclamation about the annual "point-in-time" homeless count to be held Friday.
"She doesn't know if they're getting fed, if they have medical needs, other needs," he said at the Wyoming Rescue Mission.
"We have veterans across the state of Wyoming who served out country admirably that are out on our streets," Mead said. "It was zero degrees in Cheyenne this morning and you think about a young mother or a veteran out there on the streets -- cold, hungry."
At the Wyoming Rescue Mission on Wednesday night, homeless men had to sleep on the floor because it didn't have enough beds, he said.
The American and Wyoming dreams don't happen for everyone often for reasons not of their own doing such as bad luck, substance abuse issues or mental health issues, Mead said.
So in 2013, he authorized a task force to look at homelessness through the Department of Family Services, which came up with a 10-year plan called A Home For Everyone.
But those who want to help the homeless need more information before they can meet their needs.
That's where the "point-in-time" count comes in, when faith-based organizations and government agencies will conduct a canvass in the Casper area.
"The 'point-in-time' count is important because it gives us an idea rather than guessing the magnitude of the situation," Mead said. "Every year we get a better and better idea. The numbers will change up and down, but part of it is, without the point-in-time count we were just guessing about the need."
Mead was joined at the event by Steve Corsi, director of the Wyoming Department of Family Services, Wyoming Rescue Mission Director Brad Hopkins and mission staff and clients.
The public and private agencies know they're not dealing with bloodless statistics, he added.
"When we think about the point-in-time count, we have to be careful not to think about 'this is x amount of numbers,'" Mead said. "These are people. They are you, they are me, they are people through a variety of reasons -- maybe a tough childhood, maybe a tragedy in the family -- any number of reasons can have issues."