Volunteers needed for county homeless count Jan. 23

Volunteers needed for county homeless count Jan. 23

By Julie Muhlstein, Everett Herald Writer

A year ago, on a single day in January, 1,996 people were counted as homeless in Snohomish County. Again this year, volunteers are needed to help with the county’s annual Point in Time homeless count, scheduled for Jan. 23.

Volunteers, who can choose to work in specified areas of Snohomish County, are asked to commit to three-hour shifts between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. that day.

Although it isn’t exact, the annual tally is a requirement for communities receiving state and federal money for programs that fight homelessness.

About 150 volunteers helped with the 2013 Point in Time Count. Susanna Wren, facilities manager of Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County’s emergency shelter, was one of those volunteers.

“It helps us to be aware of the issue of homelessness in Snohomish County,” Wren said Tuesday. “We serve clients who are not only victims of domestic violence, they are homeless. We want to make sure people out there are counted.”

In 2013, there were 757 children under age 18 among the 1,996 people in 1,151 “households” counted in the tally. In 2012, the count identified 2,387 people as being homeless.

“Homelessness can be an invisible issue for many people in our county,” Snohomish County Executive John Lovick said in a statement released Monday. “This annual count gives us a chance to show our homeless that they do matter, and that we’re committed to making a difference in their lives.”

To volunteer with the count, contact one of these people:

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East county: Sharon Paskewitz, 425-212-3211 or email spaskewitz@voaww.org.

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South county: Maria Bighaus, 425-774-9843, ext. 236, or email mbighaus@ywcaworks.org.

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Central county: Lisa Bachler, 425-374-6347 or email lisaB@ccsww.org.

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North county: Cathy Kerr, 425-347-6556 or email CathyKerr@housinghope.org.

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Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; muhlstein@heraldnet.com.