NEW BRITAIN - The annual Point In Time Count of the cityâ€™s sheltered and unsheltered homeless population will take place on Jan. 23, organizers said.
The annual count is required by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for funding and program purposes.
Every municipality in the state, in conjunction with the regional Coordinated Access Networks, will participate in the count, which is staffed by volunteers and service providers.
The count is usually held in January, when most homeless people have sought refuge in emergency shelters, making it easier to get a sense of how many are in a given area.
Volunteers and staff from the Friendship Service Center will fan out throughout the city to look for people living in places that are considered uninhabitable, such as abandoned buildings and tents in the woods.
Others will count the number of people who are staying in the cityâ€™s three shelters, the Friendship Center, the Salvation Army and the Prudence Crandall Center, which takes in women, children and men who are victims of domestic violence.
New Britain is part of the Central Connecticut Coordinated Access Network, along with Bristol, Plainville, Berlin and Southington, where homeless counts also will be conducted.
In addition to checking restaurants, alleys and abandoned buildings, volunteers will look for tents behind shopping plazas or in other places where encampments have been known to pop up.
The Friendship Center is looking for volunteers to help in New Britain, said Donna Bergin, director of programs.
All volunteers will meet at 6 p.m. at the Friendship Center, 85 Arch St., for a brief training before hitting the streets at 7 p.m. Volunteers should wear warm clothing and comfortable shoes.
The day after the count, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness will stage a week-long tally of people 18 to 24 years old to question them on their living arrangements and what can be done to reunite them with family or get them stable housing.
Volunteers are also needed for this count. Anyone interested can contact Carl Asikainen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The results of the street count are tabulated by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness according to a formula that accounts for population density and other factors. New Britainâ€™s final number of people believed to be on the street during the 2016 count was pegged at 13 after the formula was applied, even though only six were found.
The number of homeless people in the city has gone down two straight years.
Anyone who is interested in volunteering for the Point in Time Count in New Britain should contact Vera Clark, an outreach worker with the Friendship Center, at 860-225-0211, ext. 209.