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Rowan Helping Ministries to calculate homeless population

SALISBURY — Rowan Helping Ministries will be a part of the nationwide Point-in-Time Count tonight to determine how many people are homeless in the country.

The count not only gives Rowan Helping Ministries a better snapshot of the population it serves, but it will also help the shelter receive additional funding. Although the count will be conducted differently this year, the importance of the event remains the same.

“It’s critically important to the work that we do at Rowan Helping Ministries,” said Betsy Warner, director of community relations at Rowan Helping Ministries. “Our mission is to reach out to our neighbors in Rowan County who are in crisis and help them with these essential needs of food, shelter and clothing. We want to get folks in, get them sheltered and provide resources they are willing and able to participate in so we can get them on their journey toward self-sustaining life.”

Rowan Helping Ministries has conducted the Point-in-Time Count for at least 12 years, Warner said. The count is required of organizations that are part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care Program. It must be completed the last Wednesday in January of each year.

In a typical year, Rowan Helping Ministries attempts to gather as many people as possible who are homeless at its shelter by providing them with a free meal from Jeannie’s Kitchen.

With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, the shelter has altered its approach this year and is asking people to call in to identify themselves or someone else who may be sleeping outdoors, in a car or anywhere people do not normally live.

Rowan Helping Ministries is asking people to call Housing and Outreach Case Manager Andrea Noble at 704-637-6838, ext. 125 or email her at anoble@rowanhelpingministries.org.

The shelter’s staff will use an app called “Counting Us” because it gives staff members a way to survey and pinpoint an accurate location of homeless individuals for the Point-in-Time Count. The information will eventually be relayed to Congress and used as information for policy making and funding allocations.

Rowan Helping Ministries will also have several volunteers working tonight to conduct follow-up phone calls with other agencies that have been asked to help complete forms with information on homelessness.

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