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C.O. Homeless Point In Time Count underway

Annual count is part of state and nationwide effort to address homelessness

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Homeless Leadership Coalition kicked off the annual Point In Time Count in Central Oregon Wednesday. The effort is a count of people who are homeless or in transitional housing in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties, as well as the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, part of a nationwide effort.

The Point In Time Count attempts to capture a count of both sheltered and unsheltered individuals experiencing homelessness to provide a snapshot of homelessness in the United States.

NewsChannel 21 spoke Wednesday with the co-chair of Homeless Leadership Coalition, Colleen Thomas.

"We use those numbers so that we can apply for more grants to bring more funding and resources to our community, and it gives us an opportunity to go back to the larger community and say, 'This is what the barriers these folks are experiencing are,'" Thomas said.

Volunteers across the region conduct a street count of people considered to be unsheltered, meaning they are living outside, and collect data on the homeless population living in emergency shelters and transitional housing.

Last year, there were about 880 people living without adequate housing in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties. That was a 12% increase from 2018.

"As a region, there's a really big question we all need to answer, which is 'How do we identify affordable housing?'" Thomas said. "Our shelters are at capacity, and so there's a real need for folks to have more resources in our area."

Information is gathered on a wide range of characteristics of those experiencing homelessness, including age, gender, race, ethnicity, veteran status and disability status.

Numbers are expected to be made available to the public in mid-March.

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Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.


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