CSO assists in census of Hot Springs homeless

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — In a concerted effort to address the critical issue of homelessness in Hot Springs, the annual Point in Time (PIT) count took place Thursday, Jan. 25, shedding light on the challenges faced by sheltered and unsheltered individuals in the community.

Coordinated locally and assisted by the Community Services Office (CSO), the PIT count, mandated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), involves tallying the number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January. This comprehensive count encompasses those sheltered in emergency shelters, transitional housing, and Safe Havens.

The initiative also included a specific focus on identifying and reaching out to unsheltered individuals facing homelessness. The Community Services Office collaborated with the Arkansas Balance of State organization to carry out the count, with CSO’s Communications Director, Robin Surf, participating as a volunteer.

Surf’s primary goal was to locate individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness, providing them with resources to help escape homelessness while making a positive impact on the community and beyond. The efforts concentrated on facilitating connections between those in need and available support services.

The Jackson House, a key location in Hot Springs, served as a focal point for the outreach efforts. Home to numerous individuals facing homelessness, the site underscored the urgency of addressing the issue within the community.

While the day was marked by a sense of urgency and busyness, Surf noted that the outreach was highly successful in connecting with individuals and conveying the importance of community support. As the collected data is analyzed, it is expected to inform ongoing efforts to combat homelessness in Hot Springs.