BEND, OR -- The Homeless Leadership Coalition begins its annual point-in-time homeless count Wednesday. Coalition co-chair Molly Taroli says it’s important they get an accurate look at the local picture. "This is how we are able to get funding into our communities to help with ending homelessness; you know, putting people back into homes. We need to show the need; we need to show that our homelessness is not, in fact, getting better. In fact, it may be getting worse. And, what are those reasons why."
In 2017, the count identified 778 homeless Central Oregonians, based on the Department of Housing and Urban Development's standards, "Per HUD, we have a different criteria – it’s people who are literally homeless; which means in a place that’s not meant for human habitation; without running water or heat, basically. However," Taroli tells KBND News, "When we do our Point in Time count, we also capture folks who are ‘doubled up,’ which is maybe couch surfing or they’re staying in a hotel/motel with a voucher paid by NeighborImpact, for example."
Taroli expects this year's number to be higher, "Last year, when we did our point in time, we had about 4’ of snow on the ground. This year, it’ll be a little easier to get to folks and we’re hoping people will also able to get into the community and get to the food bank or get propane or items that they need. Versus last year, there were folks stranded within their camps." She says volunteers are available at some survey locations, to help connect people with necessary resources.
A list of locations conducting the count, and dates and times, is available on the Homeless Leadership Coalition’s website. Or click below for each day's events:
Photo: A volunteer surveys the homeless in Bend, January 26, 2017