WENATCHEE — The annual point-in-time census of the homeless found 412 people living without permanent shelter in the Wenatchee Valley as of January.

The count, required by state law, provides a one-day snapshot of a problem that’s always there. It’s a slight drop in numbers from last year, when the count registered 474 homeless persons throughout Chelan and Douglas counties, but the population has averaged 412 individuals since 2015.

More disturbing, about 104 of this year’s homeless are minor children.

Grant County’s census came up with far fewer homeless individuals as of the Jan. 24 date for counting. There were 148 people identified in Grant, even though its overall population is 20 percent greater than Chelan’s. But its numbers have risen, from 137 people last year and just 76 in 2017.

Mason County clocked in with 273 people.

The count helps state and local agencies determine how to direct homeless aid funds, although organizers stress it can’t always provide a complete picture of the situation. Throughout Washington state, the count recorded an estimated 21,621 homeless individuals, an increase of 500 from last year.

Jefferson Robbins: 679-7013

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