Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

Preliminary data is coming back from the Point In Time Count of homeless persons residing in Del Norte County, and seems to indicate a steady increase in the local homeless populations.

The yearly survey is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine levels of funding for county programs in the future.

Program Manager Jesse Ferguson began by explaining survey data is considered preliminary and must still be examined by the HUD to determine if surveys meet its criteria.

A total of 178 surveys were collected, compared to 158 in 2017 and 139 in 2016.

He said surveys fell into three basic categories; those conducted in person, those observed in areas where surveyors saw but did not approach people and those housed in county-supervised conditions such as Harrington House or a motel.

He said 96 surveys were done in person, 28 were observed in encampments and 54 were in subsidized shelter of some sort.

Some numbers

Ferguson said of the in-person surveys, 60 met the HUD requirement of lacking a nighttime residence, with 21 people sleeping in vehicles and 39 camping in areas not suited for human habitation. Ferguson said 52 surveyed were considered to be chronically homeless and were staying in such areas.

“Of this, 34 said they are a present or past victim of domestic violence, and 22 were the product of foster care,” Ferguson said.

The number of those surveyed who had some form of income was 66, and 22 of them receive some sort of Social Security income.

“As far as those with earned income, there have been none so far,” he said.

Ferguson explained numbers of those with physical disabilities and those with mental disabilities often overlap, with results of 33 and 38, respectively. Of those surveyed, 21 admitted to having a chemical dependency.

“Fifteen said they have prior military service,” Ferguson said, noting several surveyed last year were also veterans.

“Our local Housing Authority has acquired Veteran’s Choice Housing vouchers to assist homeless veterans,” Ferguson said. “Much is being done, but we do understand there is much more to do.”

A lot of help

Staff and volunteers worked in heavy rain to collect the surveys but were also giving out clothing and other supplies.

He said Sutter Coast Hospital donated more than 100 hygiene packets provided to homeless persons.

“Starbuck’s Coffee donated coffee for the event. Home Depot donated Tarps and other useful items. Partnership Health Plan of California donated socks, gloves and hats. The Redwood Family Worship Center donated several gently used items such as coats, blankets, sleeping bags etc. Del Norte Soroptimist donated caps, gloves, socks and scarves,” Ferguson said.

“Daily Bread Ministries,” he said, “Del Norte County Library, The Open Door Community Health Clinic and the Del Norte Senior Center as well as the Del Norte Veterans Hall made their locations available for us to conduct surveys. The Del Norte Unified School District, College of the Redwoods, Crescent City Housing Authority, Veterans Services, mental health, Public Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs provided services at the Veteran’s Hall along with our public assistance branch on January 23rd.”

Ferguson said the public assistance branch has three housing programs to assist families in finding housing through funding by CalWorks. He said it has helped many families and funding could not have been acquired without taking part in the Point in Time count.

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