Cold shelters open for homeless in Deschutes County

Homeless people line up to receive dinner at the Bethlehem Inn in Bend in January 2013. (Andy Tullis/Bulletin file photo)

The Homeless Leadership Coalition will be kicking off the annual Point In-Time Count, where volunteers count the number of homeless people in Central Oregon for three days.

The count is part of a state and national effort to identify the number of people struggling to find appropriate and adequate housing, according to the coalition.

This Point In-Time Count attempts to capture the larger picture of both sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness in the United States. Volunteers across the region will conduct a street count of people considered to be unsheltered, meaning they are living outside, and collect data on the homeless population living in emergency shelters and transitional housing.

Volunteers will be conducting confidential and anonymous surveys in La Pine, Bend, Sisters, Redmond, Prineville, Madras, and Warm Springs from Wednesday to Jan. 31.

Through this data, local agencies and programs will be able to better target support services and develop comprehensive plans to address poverty and homelessness in Central Oregon, said Colleen Thomas, the co-chair of the coalition and the Homeless Outreach Coordinator with Deschutes County Health Services.

For more information, anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to contact Thomas at 541-317-3153.

Reporter: 541-633-2160,

bvisser@bendbulletin.com

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