'Point-in-Time' survey gives Twin Falls region latest homelessness numbers

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Back in January, volunteers from the South Central Community Action Partnership went searching for homeless Twin Falls residents.

The Point-in-Time survey, conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, takes the count of homeless in the area, and those numbers impact what programs places like South Central can provide.

"It's how we obtain our funding," said case manager Karen Embleton.

She said they use the funding to help people in Twin Falls get into housing and stay in housing.

"It's becoming more strict that we have the numbers so we can get that funding," Embleton said.

This year, South Central wanted to be more accurate with their numbers so they took the surveys to the homeless, going to shelters, public libraries and parks to find them.

"We're not getting the actual count when we just have them come to us, so we're reaching out to get to them," Embleton said.

According to the results, homelessness in the state of Idaho has gone down, but the number of unsheltered homeless in the Twin Falls area went up.

"Those are the people that are staying in their cars places not meant for human habitation," Embleton said. "So those are the ones who are truly homeless."

Without this federal funding, the clinic has to rely on other grants to help the homeless here in Twin.

"That funding is very important to us, and that's why it's so important to get the point in time count correct and show what we're doing and who we're helping," Embleton said.

She said they don't know yet how this year's numbers will affect funding, but last year they received just under $150,000.

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