HAMBLEN COUNTY, Tenn. — The Ministerial Association Temporary Shelter (MATS) will conduct the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count of homeless individuals for the Hamblen County mayor's office using some new technology. 

Teams will have the opportunity to count even more efficiently this year with the help of a new data recording app, "Counting Us."

The count gives government and agency officials a more accurate picture of the need in areas across the country and will help determine future funding for agencies helping homeless individuals. This funding is particularly important when shelters fill to capacity during the winter months. 

For MATS, the count also gives their staff and volunteers an opportunity to tell homeless individuals about the program they offer and to give them needed supplies, such as toiletries and blankets.

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The 2019 count will take place between Jan. 22 and 24. Volunteers will be collecting data over the phone during this time period, and two volunteer teams will go out at midnight and 5 a.m. on Jan. 23 to count homeless individuals in person. 

All volunteers will use the new app to track both sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals.

The PIT Count is mandated each year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and MATS has conducted Hamblen County's count with the help of dedicated volunteers for 11 years.

For more information about MATS, visit www.matstn.com.