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Press Release

Volunteers Needed to Help Homeless Assistance Programs Get Funding

December 20, 2004

Volunteers are needed to conduct a count of homeless people in Contra Costa that could be worth $8 million in funding for housing and services.

Contra Costa Health Services' (CCHS) Homeless Program is recruiting volunteers to assist with the count of unsheltered homeless people. The count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) who provides annual funding to CCHS to provide critical services. The count will take place January 26, 2005 in the early morning hours and will last around 2-3 hours. Volunteers will also need to attend an hour-long training the day before. (Call Lavonna Martin, Assistant Director for the Homeless Program at 925-313-6140 by January 12, 2005 to volunteer.)

"This count is extremely important for the homeless population. The funding we receive from HUD is used both for housing and supportive services that help keep people out of homelessness. Services like life skills training, vocational training, mental health services and multi-service centers are vital in helping homeless people put their lives back together," said Cynthia Belon, Director of Contra Costa Health Services' Homeless Program.

Volunteers will be assigned to a small section of the county. They'll drive through the area and tally the number of homeless people they identify. The training will give volunteers guidelines on whom to count. Volunteers will work in pairs and do not need experience working with the homeless population.

"Each year, an estimated 15,000 people experience homelessness in our County, and on any given night, more than 4,800 people are homeless. It is very important that we complete this count so that we can continue to receive funding to assist these men, women and children," said Belon.

The multi-service centers offer comprehensive services, operating as "one-stop" sites for meals, temporary housing, respite for detoxification, and social services.

More information about the Contra Costa Health Services' Homeless program and how to help in other ways is available online at

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Press Contact
  • Lavonna Martin
  • 925-313-6140