By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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As part of the annual “point in time” count, a specific tally of homeless people in Quilcene and Brinnon is geared toward the acquisition of county help.
“This is critically important,” said Linda Herzog of Quilcene.
“To have a roof over your head and be able to protect your family is a basic human right.
“This is a genuine opportunity to help assure that everyone in our community can have access to the basics.”
Olympic Community Action Program’s housing program and asset manager, Kathy Morgan said the survey fits into a 10-year plan to eliminate homelessness in the county.
That plan, which began in 2005, had a goal of 2015 but is a bit behind schedule, Morgan said.
Morgan said the effort is now being reorganized to include county and city government as well as other agencies, and still feels that the 2015 goal can be achieved.
“We think with all the agencies that are involved that we can still meet the original projections,” Morgan said.
Morgan said the point-in-time data have been gathered but the numbers are not yet available.
In Quilcene, the deadline was extended until Thursday due to an increase in the count and the belief that several homeless people remain uncounted.
“This year they gathered around 30 signatures from homeless people while the previous counts were never more than five or six,” Morgan said.
“It’s important that everyone is being counted.”
Morgan said the increased numbers originated by counting people who are living on farms, hosted by the individual farmers as a short-term solution to the need for housing.
Another Quilcene resident, Chris Llewellyn, is asking those who know about homeless people in the area to send her an email at email@example.com at which point she will compare that information with the data already collected.
Needed in the email is the first name, gender, approximate age and any additional information available as to why the reason the person is homeless.
Llewellyn will determine if anyone is duplicate-counted, then prepare the appropriate forms and send in the final documentation.
The “homeless” designation covers anyone who is “couch surfing,” squatting, living in a broken down RV, shed, or even a cabin without water, electricity, cooking, sanitation or bathing facilities.
The information is due by Feb. 7 for it to be included in the tally.
Homeless counts, done yearly in many counties, use the acquired data to quantify the problem and use as a basis for grant applications.
“The more homeless individuals and families that can be verified, the greater the opportunity for funding to address this critical problem,” Herzog said.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.