On Jan. 25, local volunteers and social service agencies came together to conduct the fourth annual Point-in-Time Homelessness Count for Lamar County.

The PIT count is mandated by HUD and the Texas Homeless Network as one of the prerequisites to securing state and federal funding. The count and the accompanying social services fair, which was underwritten by Edward Jones’ Stephen Gerrald, was a collaborative effort led by the New Hope Center, the United Way of Lamar County and the Lamar County Homelessness Coalition.

Homeless individuals were surveyed using an app called “Counting Us” and the data has been submitted to the Texas Homeless Network. Officials are expecting the PIT Count findings to be released in the upcoming months.

Those who helped include The Salvation Army, the Paris Police Department, Citizens on Patrol and the following agencies: American Red Cross, Downtown Food Pantry, Lamar County Human Resources Council, CitySquare Paris, Co-Ministry, ETCADA, First United Methodist Church – Youth, Habitat for Humanity, Lone Star Legal Aid, Paris Junior College – Literacy Council, Paris/LC Health District, Paris Metro/TRAX, The Kings Daughters, St. Vincent DePaul, Socks for the Soul, and United Way of Lamar County. In addition, the Friends of Northeast Texas Connections and First United Methodist Women’s Ministry gathered, sorted and organized bars of soap, shampoos, lotions, toothbrushes, blankets, socks and snacks, which were distributed to the homeless.

For those wishing to become involved with the Lamar County Homeless Coalition, the next general meeting is open to the public. It will be March 8 at noon, at Lewis Hall behind Paris Regional Medical Center.