EUGENE, Ore. -- On Thursday, about 200 volunteers canvassed Eugene, Springfield, Veneta, Florence, and Cottage Grove to get an accurate picture of homelessness in the area.
The count is a requirement for counties to receive federal and state funding for services that benefit homeless populations, such as Continuum of Care, a program with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development designed to end homelessness.
In 2019, the point in time count identified more than 2,100 homeless people in Lane County, a 32% increase from the year before, but officials with the county said that does not mean this year is predictable.
"The point in time count is a snapshot of homelessness, and we have other ways to collect data to understand homelessness so we collect data throughout the year to better understand," said Alexandria Deher, the organizer of the point in time count for Lane County.
John Ring has been a guest at the Eugene Mission for more than a year and he said it has been an invaluable resource.
"I don't think there's really any reason to be out on the streets," Ring said. "You have a place to be here and there's shelter."
While the mission does not receive federal funding, it serves people who benefit from that funding.