LANE COUNTY, Ore.-- Lane County is conducting its annual Homelessness Point in Time count Wednesday. More than 300 people, including staff and volunteers, will participate.
They'll count people on streets, under bridges, in parks, at food pantries, emergency shelters and other places. The count starts at 8 a.m. and will run throughout the night.
In 2017, more than 1,500 people were counted. County officials said 1,003 of those were men, women, and children without shelter, more than 400 people were at emergency shelters, and 84 were in transitional housing.
While officials with Lane County Human Services believe the number will remain relatively the same, they said it's the people themselves that change year-to-year.
"While the numbers might be steady, it might be 1,500 the same as last year, but when we look at the individuals themselves, we find that it's not the same people. That does tell us a little bit about what homelessness looks like in our community and that people cycle in and out of homelessness," said Alex Dreher of Lane County Human Services.
Volunteers and staff are also conducting surveys Wednesday. Those surveys will seek information about how many people are in an un-housed family, or whether they have any disabilities that may be preventing them from getting housing.
Using that data, Dreher said, they are able to see where the needs and gaps in the community are to better address them. Another benefit of the count, she said, is that it highlights the need for certain services, which brings in the necessary funding.
The official numbers are not expected to be announced for a few months.