On Saturday, January 28th between the hours of 3:00-10:00AM, over 500 volunteers took to the streets of Austin. Our mission: to count the number of people experiencing homelessness in Travis county. Our purpose: to collect accurate data for the nationwide Point in Time Count. A local nonprofit organization, ECHO, organized this year's census. They are committed to ending homelessness by engaging the community and will use the information collected to better serve and aid the homeless in our community and to identify trends in the current homeless population.
Our team met at 5:00AM on a 38 degree morning at Whataburger and went through our morning plan. From there, we split into two cars and hit the road in search of those who spent the night out in the cold. We searched wooded areas, behind shopping centers, and asked local gas station employees if they knew of anyone living on the streets in the neighborhood. We looked at underpasses, and talked to those panhandling on street corners.
When we interviewed our first individual experiencing homelessness in the area, it was a moment of mixed emotion. We wanted to be effective volunteers and find as many people as we could, but at the same time we hoped not to find anyone living out in the cold. We were able to take several surveys that morning, giving each individual a care canister packed with socks and a beanie to help keep them warm along with a hygiene item and a snack.
Volunteering for the Point in Time Count gave us another moment for deep understanding of those experiencing homelessness. It helped to remind us why we do what we do here at Mitscoots.
By creating a sustainable employment opportunity for those transitioning out of homelessness, we hope to make a difference in as many lives as possible. Every small step, every item purchased, every hour served truly does help to impact lives for the better. We thank you for helping make all this possible.
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