AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the city of Amarillo’s Community Development Department recently conducted its first point-in-time count of 2023, giving a snapshot of how many individuals within the city of Amarillo experience homelessness.
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, the data of each count is used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine how effective its programs and policies are within the city. Jason Riddlespurger, the director of community development for the city of Amarillo, previously said a PIT count gives the department the chance to see what they need to focus on in the coming year.
For the most recent PIT count, which occurred throughout the city in late January, Riddlespurger said the city saw a good number of volunteers, with around 70 people showing up and helping from various agencies and different places.
“Probably in the last four or five years, we’ve done a really good job of getting good volunteers out there to get a good, quality Point in Time Count,” Riddlespurger said. “Prior to that, I would say that it was actually not very good at all and I wouldn’t trust the numbers very much beyond that five years.”
Riddlespurger said it takes time for the final numbers to be tabulated, making sure that individuals were not counted twice. He expects to have the final numbers completed in the next few weeks, aiming at sharing final figures with the Amarillo City council towards the end of February.
Until then, the department is diving into the data the department does have, he said, looking at trends and seeing what populations are prevalent, including veterans, families and children.
“One of the key things that I’m always looking for when we first get these numbers is, I’m looking at are we looking at a huge trend one way or the other,” Riddlespurger said. “A huge drop or a big increase. The good thing is I’m seeing that it’s not a huge (difference) either way…We want to know where the needs are, funnel that funding towards those gaps.”
Riddlespurger said the department plans to host an additional PIT count in the summer.
For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with MyHighPlains.com and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.