The Ministerial Association Temporary Shelter is commissioned by the Hamblen County Mayor’s Office to conduct the annual Point-in-Time Count of homeless individuals.

The 2020 count will take place between January 21 and 22. Some volunteers will be collecting data over the phone during this time period, and volunteer teams will go out at midnight and 5 a.m. on the 22nd to count homeless individuals in person.

The PIT Count is mandated each year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and MATS has conducted Hamblen County’s count with the help of dedicated volunteers for 12 years. Teams will be using the data recording app, “Counting Us,” for the second year for a better overall experience.

The app allows volunteers to record information about individuals and families while having a comfortable, face-to-face interaction and frees them from having to keep up with cumbersome papers. It also has the added features of marking the location on a map and capturing more specific demographics. These features help give the THDA the most accurate information about needs across the country.

The annual PIT count is essential to provide government and agency officials a clear picture of the need in counties across the country and will help determine future funding for agencies helping homeless individuals. This funding is particularly important when shelters fill to capacity during the winter months.

For MATS, the count also gives staff and volunteers an opportunity to tell homeless individuals about the programs offered at the shelter. Volunteers will also have bags with some needed supplies and blankets to give away--especially important this year, as temperatures will likely be below freezing. MATS thanks Morristown-Hamblen Central Services for providing these bags of supplies and the City of Morristown for providing a loaned officer to assist with the count.

For more information about MATS visit www.matstn.com.