Homelessness survey to launch in Barbour County

For the past few years, a Point in Time Survey has been conducted in many areas for the West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness with the goal of gathering statistics about the number of people in the state that are without homes.

Barbour County has not participated in those surveys in the past, but the Family Resource Network in cooperation with the Barbour County Commission and Alderson-Broaddus College are working this year to change that by launching the survey and hosting an awareness event.

“They (Barbour County) haven’t really had anybody that took that on and said, ‘I’m going to try to get some statistics together,'” Family Resource Network Executive Director Linda Watson said, adding that the first year’s statistics are optional and may not be fully accurate. “This is a beginning.”

To mark the beginning, students from various outreach groups at Alderson-Broaddus College will spend the night of Jan. 24 on the Barbour County Courthouse lawn with cardboard boxes decorated to compete. The Barbour County Commission will be judging the boxes of each group on creativity and ability to withstand weather. The winner will receive bragging rights and free hot chocolate for the night. Surveys begin at 4 p.m. on Jan. 24 and continue through 3:59 p.m. on Jan. 25.

Any organizations that would like to participate may also sign up by the start of the event by contacting the FRN at 304-457-2691. Those organizations, along with the students, will help conduct the surveys.

Watson said that in Barbour County, it’s not that people who qualify are completely homeless, but that many families could be overcrowded because they live in multi-family households.

Filling out the survey is optional. Representatives will be set up at tables on Jan. 25 at various agencies to conduct the surveys. The last day to officially volunteer to take the survey will be Jan. 25, but Watson said that surveys would be accepted at the Family Resource Network within the last 10 days of January.

Any Barbour County citizen who wants more specific details, has questions about qualifications, or needs to arrange another way to participate may call the FRN.