Coalition seeks donation for homeless count

Ignacio Torres, 61, sits on the tailgate of his pickup truck, which also served as his home in this 2011 photo. Every night, Torres re-arranges the small, cramped space in the truck's bed to make room for a spot to sleep. Dozens of volunteers for the Victoria Area Homeless Coalition conducted the homeless survey in 2011.
  • Victoria Area Homeless Coalition

  • OFFICERS

    • President - Kim Pickens, University of Houston-Victoria

    • Vice-president - Darlah Sims, City of Victoria

    • Secretary - Linda May, Crossroads Chapter American Red Cross

    • Treasurer - Johanna Rohan, Golden Crescent 2-1-1

The Victoria Area Homeless Coalition continues to monitor the level of homelessness in the Crossroads. Its homeless count is scheduled for later this month.

Founded in the early 1990s, the coalition received its official nonprofit status in December 2011.

It is made up of members of nonprofit groups, churches and other volunteers interested in the welfare of the homeless.

One of the coalition's main efforts is the Point In Time Homeless Count, which will be Jan. 24.

"We will have volunteers in Victoria and the six surrounding counties to locate and survey persons who are either homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless," said Ginny Stafford, chief executive officer of Mid-Coast Family Services.

"It gives us a snapshot of what's happening with the most needy of our community. It also gives us the opportunity to do outreach and perhaps bring some homeless persons into programs and services."

Information gained from the annual homeless count and survey is submitted to a national data base and used in the allocation of funding for this service area.

Homeless counts began in Victoria in 2004. There was no count in 2008, and they are now held every two years.

In 2011, 123 people were identified during the count as being homeless in Victoria. Another 94 were deemed as at-risk of becoming homeless.

In advance of the homeless count, supplies are needed that will be placed in bags and distributed that day.

The most needed supplies include new white socks in adult and youth sizes, toothbrushes and sleeping bags.

Other supplies needed include nail clippers, small boxes of baking soda and individually packaged snacks.

The supply drive continues through Jan. 11. Drop-off locations include Pam Raley, CPA, 3402 John Stockbauer Drive; Split Enz Salon, 107 W. Santa Rosa St.; and the Pine Street Community Center, 803 Pine St.

For more information on the supply drive, call Kim Pickens at 361-218-6401.