PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Volunteers across Multnomah, Marion and Polk counties fanned out to determine how many people are currently homeless for the Point-in-Time Count.
The Point-in-Time Count provides a snapshot of how many people are homeless on a given night in each community.
The last count in Multnomah County happened in 2019, because of COVID. That count found more than 4,000 people were experiencing homelessness.
This year’s count ended on Tuesday, and the results are expected to be released this summer.
150 volunteers, plus staff, spread out, visiting homeless camps across the county. Jenka Soderberg with the Joint Office of Homeless Services spoke with more than two dozen people at several camps across. east Portland.
“No matter how much we try to reach everyone, there’s a much bigger need than what we’re able to meet at this point,” Soderberg explained.
Soderberg said they brought coffee and hand warmers along with a survey about their current situation.
“Just keep getting struck by the one man who as I was leaving and, you know, just walking off to go to the next site, he said ‘you know you really made my day,'” Soderberg explained.
One new question this year: Is COVID-19 one of the reasons you’re experiencing homelesseness?
Many think the pandemic made things worse, but we’ll have to wait for the data to know for sure.
“No matter what the number is, there’s going to be people who didn’t get counted. We try to go to as many camps as we could, I know the other people also try to go to camps, but there are a lot of people who are hidden homeless,” Soderberg said.
In Marion and Polk counties, more than 100 volunteers and staff members participated in the Point-in-Time Count.
Robert Marshall with the Arches Project said they were able to get more people involved, so they could do a better job reaching the smaller and more rural communities.
“By conducting that count and getting out there and interacting with the community and seeing where the homeless population is and what resources are needed, it allows for us to have a better impact all together,” Marshall explained.
Marshall said the results will help them serve people better and know where resources are needed.