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Cape Fear Continuum of Care conducts survey of homeless population, offers resources

Cape Fear Continuum of Care
The Cape Fear Continuum of Care is required to conduct an annual point in time survey of homeless people in the Cape Fear region by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The point in time survey conducted this week collects data on how many homeless people are in the Cape Fear region.

The point-in-time survey typically involves teams moving throughout the community to count homeless residents living in shelters and on the streets.

But this year, the Continuum of Care, or CoC, also put on a resource fair, called the “Homeless Stand Down” event. It combines the survey with an opportunity for homeless families and individuals to reach services.

Director Judy Herring said the Homeless Stand-Down event gives people options for how their data is collected, as some people may not want to reveal where they’re living.

“A lot of times, it's uncomfortable to give information for nothing, especially if you feel exposed and vulnerable. And so we were able to interact with people and connect them to services and hopefully, create some goodwill," she said.

Herring said the Homeless Stand Down event had a good turnout, but she would like to see more next time. The name is a play on Veteran Stand Down events, which provide services to homeless veterans.

Herring said the agency hopes the events will help expand their reach into more rural areas in the region.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, requires CoCs to take a count each year, but the data takes two years to come out. The data isn’t meant to be a definitive number, but rather a sample of people experiencing homelessness in a community at one point in time.

The field survey in Brunswick County took place Tuesday, January 24. Another homeless stand-down event and field survey will take place Thursday, January 26 in Pender County.

Grace is a multimedia journalist recently graduated from American University. She's attracted to issues of inequity and her reporting has spanned racial disparities in healthcare, immigration detention and college culture. In the past, she's investigated ICE detainee deaths at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, worked on an award-winning investigative podcast, and produced student-led video stories.