A homeless encampment at Kakaako Park. Denby Fawcett/Civil Beat

A new mobile app will help volunteers surveying Oahu’s homeless population early next year by streamlining collection of data points, such as location, and organizing surveyors’ observations.

The app will allow for live monitoring of data collection. It will also allow volunteers to “drop pins” to track the approximate location of the homeless people they encounter over the course of the one-night count.

The federally mandated “point in time count” will take place Jan. 23, 2020 at various locations around Oahu. The annual event is an on-the-ground count of homeless people observable by vetted and trained volunteers.

The count is important because it guides policy decisions and outreach by service providers, such as homeless shelters and free meal programs. It also helps government leaders and advocacy groups assess how current tactics employed to combat the state’s homeless crisis are faring.

Partners in Care, a coalition of homeless services providers on Oahu, is seeking 1,000 volunteers to assist with the count, as well as donations of travel-sized hygiene and snack food items that will be distributed during the outreach and data-gathering event.

Preregistration is required for prospective volunteers.

Here are the highlights from the 2019 count.

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