Social service agencies throughout Northwest Montana are gearing up for the annual Montana Housing Status Survey (previously called the Montana Homeless Survey).
People who consider themselves homeless or at risk of being homeless may fill out surveys at a number of drop-in locations.
The survey, which will be conducted on Thursday, Jan. 23, provides information about the homeless in Northwest Montana and is linked to future funding opportunities for programs and services for those in need and creating new housing resources.
The survey is for those who are in one of the following circumstances:
• Sleeping in a place not meant for habitation.
• Staying in an emergency shelter or domestic violence shelter, or in a transitional housing facility for homeless persons.
• Anyone who was otherwise without a home on the evening of Jan. 23.
All answers are confidential and will not affect eligibility for any services. Only one survey should be filled out per family or household.
Families and individuals who may not already be connected with participating social service agencies are encouraged to complete surveys at any of the following drop-in sites in Kalispell:
• Gateway Community Center information desk, U.S. 2 West
• Flathead Job Service, 427 First Ave. E.
• Community Action Partnership of Northwest Montana, 214 Main St.
• Samaritan House at 124 Ninth Ave. W. Surveys will be available at those sites from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 23.
People who consider themselves homeless may complete surveys over the telephone by calling Help Net at 752-8181, from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m., on Jan. 23. People outside Flathead County may call toll free, 1-800-332-8425.
In Lake, Lincoln and Sanders counties, surveys will be conducted through domestic violence shelters, food banks and mental health centers between Jan. 24 and 31.
In addition to the agency surveys, a number of surveyors will go to motels and other areas where homeless people may be staying to include them in the survey results.
Volunteers are needed to help with the survey.
Call the United Way Volunteer Center at 752-7266 for more information; or toll-free at 1-888-720-7266 outside the local calling area.
Agencies participating in the survey process include United Way, Flathead Job Service, Community Action Partnership of Northwest Montana, Flathead Valley Chemical Dependency Clinic, Samaritan House, Salvation Army, Ray of Hope, Flathead Food Bank, Violence Free Crisis Line-Abbie Shelter, Lamplighter House, Mental Health Center, Northwest Montana Veterans Food Bank, Neighbors in Need, Department of Public Assistance, Flathead Youth Home, Special Friends Advocacy Program and Help Net-First Call for Help.