Northeast Florida’s Homeless Population Comes Out of the Shadows Thanks to Regional Volunteers

LSF Health Systems’ (LSF) Housing Team helps tally homeless individuals during annual count.

Pictured from left to right during the PIT Count: Shawn Liu – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Tammy Smith – employee at Magellan Complete Care of Florida; Elisa Malo – LSF Health Systems; and Lauren D’Amico – Community Solutions

Early on a cold January morning, members of the LSF Housing Team, in partnership with lead agency and provider Changing Homelessness, participated in Duval County’s annual Point-In-Time (PIT) Count of homeless individuals.  The nationwide homeless population census is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  LSF Housing Team members participated in counts across several counties that LSF serves, at different times of the day.  Volunteers also provided individuals with a care package consisting of toiletries and information about available resources.

“It’s important that we identify homeless individuals and have a record of the numbers, because that affects the amount of future funding and resources obtained,” says Elisa Malo, LSF Housing Care Coordinator.

Malo says a few people they counted had hard hats with them and work in the construction trade. “A lot of people think the homeless are not employed.  But in many cases, they are working.”  A local television news crew highlighted Malo’s team as they searched for individuals to count.  To help conduct Putnam County’s homeless count, LSF’s Housing System Coordinator Nancy Eisele volunteered along with 23 others from area agencies including LSF Health Systems, various other non-profit organizations, members of the community and SMA Behavioral Healthcare.

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