"Contra Costa was the first county in the Bay Area to have such a plan, and in order to accomplish it, we need to collect baseline data on the homeless population every couple of years to assess our progress," said Cynthia Belon, director of the county Homeless Program.
Training for the count, which is required for all volunteers, will take place Jan. 23-25 at churches in Concord and Richmond. Each volunteer must attend a one-hour training. The actual count will begin 6 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30, simultaneously in West, Central and East counties.
Belon said an estimated 15,000 people experience homelessness in Contra Costa each year, with 900 families and more than 7,000 individuals enduring it each night. She said this will be the second ever Homeless Count in Contra Costa, and that the 2005 count was aided by 150 volunteers.
Training for the count will take place at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23 and 11 a.m. Jan. 24 at Chestnut Community Church (Phoenix Center), 3525 Chestnut Ave. in Concord. Trainings will also take place at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 24 and 11 a.m. Jan. 25 at Grace Lutheran Church, 2369 Barrett Ave. in Richmond.
Volunteers are asked to register in advance by Jan. 19 using a form available at www.cchealth.org/services/homeless/homeless_count_2007.php on the Contra Costa Health Services Web site. The form can be e-mailed to Danielle Crowell at email@example.com, faxed to (415) 788-7965 or mailed to Homebase, Center for Common Concerns, Attn. Danielle, 870 Market St., Suite 1228, San Francisco, CA 94102.
For more information about volunteering, call Danielle Crowell at (415) 788-7961, ext. 301.