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Local Agency’s Working to Address Homelessness

FULTON, NY – Members of COACH, Oswego County’s Continuum of Care Committee focusing on homelessness, have announced that the committee is looking to establish creative methods to address the issue of homelessness in Oswego County.

One of the most important steps in this process is the annual Point In Time Survey, an annual one-day count of homeless individuals that was conducted on January 23.

Mandated by the federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Point In Time Survey is a concise effort that serves to raise the awareness of homelessness and helps compile an approximate number of those who are homeless, or are housing vulnerable, in Oswego County.

Members of COACH, which stands for County of Oswego Advocates Challenging Homelessness, includes representatives from Oswego County’s human service agencies, local elected officials, concerned community members and government officials.  The committee works to raise the awareness of, and find effective ways to address, the issue of homelessness in Oswego County.

The Point In Time Survey was conducted by human service agencies throughout Oswego County, with the assistance of COACH volunteers, who surveyed their consumers on their current living situation and if they were without stable housing during the past 3 years.

While the survey’s results will not be 100% reflective of the situation, it will provide valuable information for the members of COACH as they work to address homelessness in Oswego County.

Executive Director of OCO, Diane Cooper-Currier, who serves as co-chair of the COACH committee, said that the Point In Time Survey is an excellent tool for evaluating the homeless situation in Oswego County on a particular day and is essential to the process of accessing federal and state funding to combat and alleviate homelessness.

“There is a real need for additional services to the homeless in Oswego County such as emergency shelter, supportive housing, and affordable housing that has a supportive aspect,” said Cooper-Currier. “The Point In Time Survey provides us with pertinent information that we can use as we attempt to access these funds for projects that will help us combat homelessness in Oswego County.”

COACH committee member and Executive Director of United Way of Greater Oswego County, Melanie Trexler, said that last year’s survey showed some startling statistics regarding the growing issue of homelessness in Oswego County.

“The 2012 Point in Time Survey found that more than 93 individuals were at imminent risk of becoming homeless. 27 were homeless and had no safe, stable place to live,” explained Trexler.

To address the serious issue of homelessness in Oswego County, COACH is in contact with state and federal officials to plead their case and discuss the possibilities of procuring state and federal funds to help combat homelessness.

“Oswego County is facing some tremendous fiscal challenges when it comes to addressing the problem of homelessness and the contributing factors that precedes it. Basic needs are rising while funding is decreasing.  COACH is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to successfully address the issue and significantly lower the amount of homeless individuals in Oswego County,” added Cooper-Currier.

For more information on COACH and its efforts to address homelessness in Oswego County you may contact your United Way office at 315-593-1900.