Volunteers, homeless shelters come together for 2020 Point in Time count

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — On any given night, more than 25,000 people in Texas are sleeping on the streets, with a little more than 200 of that being in several counties across North Texas.

Volunteers and local homeless shelters came together for the annual Point in Time event.

“In our Point [in] Time count we were counting the unsheltered homeless and we went to a camp behind Love’s and between Castaway Cove to locate people that are homeless,” Point in Time volunteer Candice McKee said.

Candice McKee has been helping for about six years and said this is something close to her heart.

“I have a passion for helping them get to the next level and not staying where they are,” McKee said. “We love them too much to let them stay where they are.”

As a part of the count, on Friday each person who stays at Faith Mission was given a five-page interview to fill out.

“It also attains a lot of demographic information,” CEO of Wichita Falls Faith Mission Steve Sparks said. “Head of household, how many are in the household, gender, whether they’ve served in the military, whether they’ve had any kind of benefits in the past, it also goes into great detail about health of the client.”

With the 2020 Census also being this year, it makes it that much more important to get the numbers right. But that’s not the only thing these numbers help with.

“A lot of the agencies and organizations in Wichita Falls that provide social services to homeless and other individuals receive grants from state and federal funds,” Sparks said. “So, that amount of money that comes to Wichita County and the 16 surrounding counties is determined by the number of homeless people that actually live here.”

In the years she’s volunteered there’s one misconception about the homeless that McKee would like to squash for those who don’t interact with the homeless population.

“These are real people just like you and me,” McKee said. “I think that they are afraid of them. They don’t want to even think that they are there. They want to think that they are invisible and they are not invisible, they are people.”

This is just another step to the ultimate goal of one-day ending homelessness.

Sparks said the new numbers will be released in either March or April 2020.