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Clallam Co. searches for our homeless

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by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

Community volunteers worked with Serenity House on Jan. 27-28 to count persons who are homeless for Clallam County’s Homeless Point-in-Time Count.

 

Last year, 598 homeless individuals were identified in Clallam County.

 

Volunteers searched parks, vegetation and other possible dwellings for the homeless in Sequim, Port Angeles and the West End.

 

Locally only a few individuals counted homeless people in the field while other volunteers supported office workers.

 

Virginia Klein, case manager for Serenity House’s Housing Resource Center, said there was less paperwork this year because of the level and method of how information was gathered last year. In the past month, Klein has opened 18 files to help prevent people from losing their homes or to find housing.

 

“People don’t think we have a homeless problem,” Klein said. “We have a lot of high risk (for homelessness) out there.”

 

The count, traditionally conducted in one day, was extended to two so the Sequim Food Bank could aid in the count. The bank opens on Fridays and helps Sequim’s homeless population. Lynn McAleer, Serenity House board member, counted people at the facility.

 

Stephen Rosales, Sequim Food Bank board president, said he counts at most 10 homeless people a week using the facility. When they sign up, Rosales said, they use a friend’s address. Rosales said he can tell if they are homeless or not by what they are carrying and what food they take.

 

“They get food you can cook over an open fire like tuna and pork and beans,” he said.

 

Stephanie Price, board member of Sequim Food Bank, said during summer months it’s easier to identify homeless people because they turn down larger quantities of perishable food.

 

Those without homes simply don’t have places to store perishables, Price said.

 

Sequim’s homeless count headquarters was at Serenity House’s Housing Resource Center, 203 N. Sequim Ave.

 

The center recently extended its hours to 1-5 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. Volunteers still are needed at Serenity House’s thrift store and offices.

 

Sequim Food Bank, 144 W. Alder St., is open 9 a.m.-noon Monday, Friday and Saturday.

 

The Point-in-Time homelessness count is a mandate from the Homelessness Housing and Assistance Act in unison with requirements from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  

 

The Point-in-Time total for the county is scheduled to be released by early February.

 

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

 

 

Community Events, April 2014

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