MOSES LAKE – Volunteers with Grant County’s Point in Time found 177 homeless individuals in Grant County.
Thirty-five volunteers conducted the count on Jan. 23, said Housing Authority of Grant County Homeless Programs Manager Steffanie Bonwell. The individuals were living in vehicles, recreational vehicles, outdoors, in abandoned buildings and homes without utilities.
Of the people found homeless, 90 were families and 86 were children, the report states.
It is more than the 50 homeless individuals counted in 2013 and more than the 65 homeless people counted in 2012.
“For the first time, volunteers were pre-assigned to an area, given key contact information one week prior to the count, and strongly encouraged to make contacts within their area in order to gather pertinent information,” Bonwell stated. “This is perhaps the most successful change that assisted in getting a more accurate count and resulted in an increase of 3 times the number of individuals counted in previous years.”
Grant County Homeless Task Force does not feel the population has grown, but that volunteers are getting better at finding and surveying homeless people year after year, Bonwell said.
Various agencies reported homeless households currently receiving services. For the first time, data was submitted by three school districts in the county. They found 34 people living in motels, the emergency shelter and in transitional housing, and 21 people were in families. Nine were children.
The count found 461 people were temporarily staying with family or friends, according to the count’s results.
Volunteers conducting the count carried supplies such as sleeping bags, tents, food packs, hygiene packs, portable heaters and warm clothing for homeless people.
The first annual Project Homeless Connect was conducted during the count in Moses Lake at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church with more than 100 attending.
Ten service agencies had information tables and offered various services, including vaccinations, foot care, dental care, health care enrollment and employment information.
Church volunteer served warm soup and sandwiches to the needy and homeless attending.
A clothing closet was opened at the church and included new coats and sleeping bags for those in need.
Haircuts were provided by Char Glo students.
Showers were provided.
The Project Homeless Count program drew about 50 volunteers, including Skill Source students