“I was pretty cold by the end of the night, and remember getting into my bed and feeling particularly grateful,” said Frances.

Frances Adachi, 36, volunteered for the annual PIT (Point-in-Time) count in late January–braving the frigid temperatures to survey New Haven’s homeless population. United Way mobilizes volunteers like Frances for this annual count.

The objective of the PIT is to identify and “count” those experiencing homelessness. Collecting this data is important because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires it for securing government funding.

Frances is a doctor in her second year of residency working at Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. Originally from California, not only did Frances want to connect with the community more, but as a doctor of psychiatry she felt volunteering for such an event was a natural extension of her work.

“Housing, shelter, and safety are the most important things to a person’s well being—physical, spiritual, and mental.”

She treats many individuals who are homeless, and was humbled to see where they stay at night and the conditions they endure.

Frances learned about this volunteer opportunity through a fellow resident. And the group she was with was made up of other residents and medical professionals.

She surveyed East Rock, canvassing the area and much of the park to record people for an accurate count.

United Way believes everyone should have a safe and supportive place to call home, and securing funding is crucial to helping house people and match them to available resources.

“It felt like we were out [there] with a purpose.”

Without volunteers like Frances, it wouldn’t be possible.

“It felt like we were out [there] with a purpose," said Frances.