Count finds more than 1,200 homeless in Salem area

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An annual tally of homeless people in the Salem area found 1,218 – nearly 6 percent more than last year.

The count in Marion and Polk counties was conducted Jan. 31. Volunteers surveyed homeless people they found on streets, in camps, living in their cars and in other areas without adequate shelter. People living in emergency shelters and transitional housing were also included.

The Statesman Journal reports that beyond the overall number, the count provides a snapshot of who’s homeless and why. The survey found that 37 percent of those counted were chronically homeless. About a quarter of those surveyed had a serious mental illness and a similar total had problems with substance abuse.

Males outnumbered females 60 percent to 40 percent, and children comprised 13 percent of the tally.

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