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Annual count of homeless people can help provide better local resources

Annual count of homeless people can help provide better local resources

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. - Yakima city leaders are trying to figure out how many homeless people live in our community to determine what resources and funding are needed.

Organizers say the annual Point in Time Count is important because it gives a snapshot of homelessness in our community. That way they can see who is impacted the most by homelessness and come up with possible solutions.

Groups went to local homeless shelters and service providers throughout the county on Thursday, to survey people living on the streets, in a temporary shelter or in transitional housing.

Leaders said gathering this information tells them where they can improve housing and support services in the community. They say it also helps secure funding from the state for those services.

Organizer at the Union Gospel Mission David Wells said local shelters look at the information collected to see how they can better serve the homeless.

"It's not just about collecting data but it's also about an opportunity to listen to someone," Wells said. "That maybe feels like they haven't been heard before."

Last year's count showed over 600 people living on the streets in Yakima County.

Organizers say this year's information will be available in May.

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