Homeless 2013 – Volunteers needed

Greetings neighbors,

Just in case any of you have a passion for helping the homeless – here is a way to help.


The City of Portland and 211info are recruiting volunteers to help conduct surveys and assist with data entry as part of the 2013 Homeless Street Count.

Survey Volunteers: Volunteers are needed for various shifts during the week of January 27-February 2, 2013. Volunteers will be stationed at agencies that provide services to homeless individuals and families to assist those agencies in conducting a short survey in an effort to obtain an accurate snapshot of the number of people who are homeless on a given night in our community. Most shifts last from two to four hours, and shifts are available during morning, daytime and evening hours.

Data Entry Volunteers: Volunteers are needed from February 11th-February 28th 2013 to assist in entering the data from the survey forms into an electronic database. Training will be provided and no database experience is necessary. Volunteers must be highly detail oriented, have good computer skills, and be willing to do repetitive data entry tasks. Volunteers must be available for at least four hours, and preference will be given to volunteers who can commit to 20-40 hours of volunteer time. In the past, volunteers have been able to use this experience to fulfill service requirements for graduate and undergraduate programs.

What is the Homeless Street Count?

The Homeless Street Count is conducted every two years in an effort to learn more about the individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Portland/ Multnomah County who are unsheltered. It captures a snapshot of those sleeping outside – on the street, in a car or abandoned building – on a given night. In combination with the One Night Shelter Count, which captures information on people receiving emergency shelter, transitional housing, rent assistance, and permanent supportive housing (as well as those seeking services and turned way), the Street Count provides important information about the level of homelessness in our community and the need for services.

What role do Street Count survey volunteers play?

Volunteers will be assigned to assist agencies in conducting a short one-page survey with people who are homeless and sleeping outside. Volunteers will be stationed at specific locations throughout Multnomah County where homeless persons congregate or access services, such as meal programs, drop-in centers, and health clinics. Volunteers will work with agency staff to inform people about the survey, invite them to participate, and then fill out the survey form. Specific requirements and shift schedules will vary by agency.

Survey volunteers will need to be:

  •  Comfortable approaching people and inviting them to participate in the survey;
  •  Able to relate effectively with a wide range of people;
  •  Able to stand or walk for long periods of time, in some cases outdoors;
  •  Comfortable spending time on street corners or in crowded waiting areas;
  •  Able to read the survey questions and record the answers;
  •  Sensitive to issues of confidentiality and anonymity.

In addition, we will need several volunteers who are bi-lingual in verbal and written English and Spanish.

Trainings will be held in mid-January to provide volunteers with an orientation to the Street Count and instructions for conducting the survey. Dates and locations will be announced in early January.

What role do Street Count data entry volunteers play?

Volunteers will work with staff at the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) to enter the data from the paper survey forms into the Service Point database. Data entry volunteers will work on site at PHB (421 SW 6th Ave, Suite 500.) One-on-one training will be provided and staff will be available to answer questions and

problem solve as issues arise. The timing of volunteer shifts will be fairly flexible, but they will need to occur during the workday.

Data entry volunteers will need to be:

  •  Detail oriented;
  •  Committed to accuracy;
  •  Good typists;
  •  Computer literate;
  •  Willing to do repetitive data entry tasks.

Data entry opportunities are also available to assist with the Clackamas County Homeless Count. Volunteers who are interested in working in Clackamas County should indicate as such when signing up.

How can I get more information?

For more information on volunteering or to sign up, contact Mary Welch at