Volunteer Opportunities for February 2017 Homeless Street Count

The Joint Office of Homeless Services is recruiting volunteers to help conduct surveys as part of the 2017 Homeless Street Count during the week of February 22 through February 28, 2017. Volunteers will assist service agencies throughout Multnomah County in conducting a short survey in an effort to obtain an accurate snapshot of the number of people who are experiencing homeless on a given night in our community.

What is the Homeless Street Count?

The Homeless Street Count is conducted every two years in an effort to learn more about the individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Portland/Multnomah County who are unsheltered. It captures a snapshot of those sleeping outside – on the street, in a car or abandoned building – on a given night. In combination with the One Night Shelter Count, which captures information on people receiving emergency shelter, transitional housing, rent assistance, and permanent supportive housing (as well as those seeking services), the Street Count provides important information about the level of homelessness in our community and the need for services.

Why is the Street Count important?

Communities that receive state and federal funding for homeless services are required to conduct a comprehensive Homeless Street Count every two years in order to maintain funding eligibility. Having an accurate count makes our community eligible to receive millions of dollars in funding for essential community-based services. By enabling us to better understand the demographics and needs of those experiencing homelessness in our community, the count also allows the City, County, and their nonprofit partners to more effectively direct resources and design programs to meet the needs.

What role do Street Count volunteers play?

Volunteers will be assigned to assist agencies in conducting a short one-page survey with people who are homeless and unsheltered at the end of February. Volunteers will be stationed at specific locations throughout Multnomah County where homeless persons congregate or access services, such as meal programs, drop-in centers, and health clinics. Volunteers will work with agency staff to talk with people about the survey, invite them to participate, and then fill out the survey form. 

Specific requirements and shift schedules will vary by agency. Most shifts last from two to four hours, and shifts are available during morning, daytime and evening hours. The majority of the shifts will be scheduled the evening of Wednesday, February 22 through the evening of Friday, February 24, but there will be shifts available throughout the week of February 22 through February 28.

What are the qualifications for Street Count volunteers?

Street Count volunteers need to be:

  • Comfortable approaching people and inviting them to participate in the survey;
  • Able to relate effectively with a wide range of people;
  • Humble and respectful;
  • Able to stand or walk for long periods of time, in some cases outdoors;
  • Comfortable spending time on street corners or in crowded waiting areas;
  • Able to read the survey questions and record the answers;
  • Sensitive to issues of confidentiality and anonymity.

In addition, we will need several volunteers who are bi-lingual in verbal and written English and Spanish. We would also appreciate volunteers who can communicate in Chinese, Vietnamese and Russian.

Is training available?

The last training will be held Monday, February 20th to provide volunteers with an orientation to the Street Count and instructions for conducting the survey. After completing the volunteer interest form below, view location and time of the available training and where to RSVP for the training by clicking here.

How do I sign up?

Complete the volunteer interest form below or contact Carrie Young (carrie.young@multco.us) to let us know you’re interested. Available survey shifts are listed here.

Data Entry Volunteers

Volunteers are needed in March 2017 to assist in entering data from the Street Count survey forms into an electronic database.

Data entry volunteers need to be:

  • Detail oriented;
  • Committed to accuracy;
  • Good typists;
  • Computer literate;
  • Willing to do repetitive data entry tasks;
  • Able to adhere to confidentiality protocols.

Data entry volunteers will work on-site with staff in a computer lab. Training will be provided and staff will be available to answer questions and problem solve as issues arise.

The timing of data entry volunteer shifts will be fairly flexible, but they will need to occur during the workday. Volunteers must be available for at least four hours.

Sign Up

If you are interested in volunteering, complete the volunteer interest form below or contact Carrie Young at carrie.young@multco.us. You will be able to sign up for the shift(s) that work for you (dates and times). Sign up for available data entry shifts here.

2017 Street Count Volunteer Interest Form

Let us know you are interested in volunteering by submitting your information below.

Name *
Your Interest: *
I am interested in being a:
Which of the following languages do you speak fluently?