Community groups from across the Kansas City metropolitan area conducted the 2022 Point-In-Time count (PIT) March 3-4. The Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness organized this year’s PIT.

During the two days, community-based outreach efforts counted and distributed personal hygiene and additional essentials to the unhoused residents in the Kansas City metro.

When willing and eager, the specific responses of those counted were recorded to help with more detailed specifics for the annual report to ensure resources and services were in concert with needs.

KCVA Homeless Team Members heading out for Kansas City PIT.

The annual community effort to estimate homelessness in neighborhoods is a small component but an integral part of the overall national effort to count the number of Americans, including Veterans, without permanent housing.

Prioritizing ending homelessness among Veterans

“At KCVA, we have prioritized ending homelessness among our Veterans,” said Dr. Ahmad Batrash, chief of staff. “I enjoy participating in the annual PIT counts alongside our excellent social workers and other KCVA staff members. This outreach activity is so important in helping identify individuals experiencing homelessness and connect them with the appropriate resources. By reaching out and finding Veterans experiencing homelessness, we can connect them with our comprehensive services available to help them navigate through these difficult times in their lives, including help with housing, substance abuse and mental health services.”

HUDVASH Supervisor Kim Winsor prepared personal hygiene kits which were passed out during the annual PIT.

The pressures and risks of the pandemic

This year, COVID-19 played a role in conducting the count, as the PIT count was moved from January to March. The yearly data collected is an integral part of directing resources to Veterans experiencing homelessness and helping VA to urgently house these Veteran populations.

It reduces the pressures and risks that the COVID-19 pandemic has put on Veterans living in emergency settings, transitional housing programs or unsheltered areas potentially contracting the virus and spreading the virus to others.

Helping to lead the PIT count was Homeless Program Coordinator Corrie Jones and Dr. Melissa Messina, Mental Health Service chief.

VA will continue to collaborate with our partners on efforts to improve our community for Veterans. Although we met difficult challenges head on in 2021, VA remains committed to ending Veteran homelessness.

By Vic Ziliani is strategic partnership officer for Kansas City VA and a 20-year Marine Corps Veteran

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Published on Mar. 13, 2022

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